Throughout the summer, AUM Athletics will look back at the top five moments of the 2012-13 winter and spring sports seasons, beginning this week with women's basketball. Check back next week as we countdown the top five men's basketball moments.
No. 1: AUM Upsets Lee, the Eventual NAIA National Runner Up
In the midst of its 10-0 start, one win stood out over the rest for the Auburn Montgomery women's basketball team.
On Friday, Nov. 16, the Warhawks took advantage of some timely free throw shooting to hand ninth-ranked Lee a 54-49 defeat. The loss was the first of the season for the eventual national runner up Lady Flames, who started the year 17-1 and lost only three games all year.
"Lee was the standard in our conference for the past 10 years," head coach Dan Davis said. "That win was as big as any we've had here in the last few years. It was especially important that it came early in the year because it really boosted the girls' confidence moving forward."
The victory was the highest ranked opponent that AUM had overcome since a 73-49 triumph over Lee back in February of 2010, when the Lady Flames were ranked sixth in the NAIA. It was also the first win for the Warhawks over Lee since that 2010 contest.
AUM got off to a slow start in the game, trailing 24-19 heading into the second half. The Warhawks came out aggressive on offense in the final 20 minutes, and their efforts were rewarded with an incredible 31-2 advantage in free throw attempts during the second half.
AUM hit 21 of those 31 attempts, including 19 of its final 27. Senior LaKenya Drayton led the way for the Warhawks, finishing with 22 points (14-of-18 from the free throw line) and 11 rebounds. Katie Williams chipped in 11 points, hitting three of her four shots from 3-point range.
Lee held a 47-45 lead with 2:47 remaining when Drayton hit a layup to even up the score. She hit a pair of free throws on AUM's next possession to give the Warhawks a lead they would not relinquish. Drayton and Kamesha Strong hit five of their six free throw attempts in the final two minutes to seal the upset.
The Lady Flames, whose 313 made 3-pointers was highest in the NAIA for the year, were held to 3-of-22 (13.6 percent) shooting from long distance by AUM's stringent defense. That percentage was Lee's second-lowest of the season.
"One thing that I took away from this win was how the girls weren't satisfied afterwards," Davis said. "This game developed a mentality which lasted throughout the season, and I think it will carry over into the fall as well. Once you get that taste of success, you always want more."
Women's Basketball Top Five Moments
1. AUM Upsets Lee, the Eventual NAIA National Runner Up
2. Drayton Becomes First Warhawk in Three Years to Earn NAIA Recognition
3. Warhawks Rally from 14-Point Deficit on Senior Day
4. At 10-0, Team Gets Off to Best Start in 13 Years
5. Emergence of Psachal Maize as a Starter