Lady Warhawks fall to Vanguard 60-53 in NAIA 1st round
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. (aumathletics.com) — Despite holding a six-point halftime advantage, the seventh-seeded Auburn Montgomery women’s basketball team could not overcome a two-point third quarter and fell to No. 2 seed Vanguard 60-53 in the 2016 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship at the Silverstein Eye Center Thursday.
• The season came to a close for the Warhawks with a 23-10 record. The 23 wins mark the most by an AUM team since it posted a 28-6 record during the 2006-07 season.
• Vanguard, ranked sixth in the nation, improved to 25-6 on the year and advanced to take on No. 6 seed Pikeville Friday afternoon at 4:30 p.m.
• With four steals in the contest, Jatoria Carter set a new AUM season record for steals with 126. She entered the game one steal shy of matching the season record held by Natasha Pittman (1992-93) and Veronica Harris (1988-89).
• Kaylan Withrow finished the year with 108 made 3-pointers, a new school record.
• Reggotta Craig capped her career by hitting 85.9 percent of her free throw attempts, converting 140-of-163, a new career record for free throw percentage.
• Craig finished with a game-high 17 points, adding three rebounds and a steal.
• Carter capped a decorated senior campaign by scoring 16 points, dishing out six assists, picking up four steals and grabbing three rebounds.
• Kyla Rooks finished with nine points and matched a game-high with 12 rebounds.
• Keyonda Mason came off the bench and pulled down seven rebounds in 22 minutes.
• The Lions had four players score in double figures, led by Claire Lamunu with 12.
• Melissa Norman and Kandyce Smith each recorded double-doubles for Vanguard. Norman posted 10 points and 12 rebounds, while Smith finished with 11 points and 10 boards off the bench. Norman also contributed five assists and three blocks.
• Samantha Doucette finished with 11 points and nine rebounds.
HOW IT HAPPENED
• Craig gave the Warhawks a 2-0 lead with a bucket at the 9:36 mark of the first quarter, starting a 14-5 run to open the contest. Withrow had five points during the stretch, while Carter and Craig added four each in the first 3:28 of the game.
• Vanguard clawed back into the contest with an 8-1 run over the next 4:11 and trimmed the deficit to 15-13 on a free throw by Doucette with 2:21 remaining in the first quarter.
• Craig and Carter combined to score the final eight points of the quarter for AUM, as it took a 23-18 lead after one.
• The Warhawks opened the second quarter with an 8-2 run and took a game-high 11-point lead, 31-20, on a Craig basket with 5:31 left in the half.
• The Lions countered with a 7-2 spurt to close the half, giving the Warhawks a 33-27 halftime advantage.
• The Lions opened the half with a pair of 3-pointers to tie the game at 33-33, before a bucket by Lamunu gave them their first lead of the game with 6:59 remaining in the third quarter.
• The third quarter was one to forget for AUM, as it converted just 1-of-17 shots from the field. Vanguard outscored the Warhawks 20-2 and took 47-35 lead to the fourth quarter. AUM’s lone points of the quarter came on a bucket off a steal by Rooks with 5:49 to play.
• The Warhawks erupted for a 9-0 run to the open the fourth quarter and pulled to within three points, 47-44, on a basket by Carter with 8:33 to play. The run was aided by a trey by Craig, four points from Carter and a pair of free throws by Tatyana Darden.
• The Lions countered with seven straight points during the next 2:39 and extended the lead back to 10 points, 54-44.
• AUM cut the margin to as few as four points, 57-53, following a pair of free throws by Withrow with 46 seconds remaining. However, Vanguard preserved the victory at the charity stripe, hitting 3-of-4 down the stretch to provide the final margin.
INSIDE THE BOX SCORE
• The Warhawks converted 27.5 percent from the floor, making just 19-of-69 shots from the floor. AUM also struggled from distance, making just 2-of-20 attempts, but made 13-of-16 free throw attempts.
• Vanguard made 42.3 percent of its shots from the field, hitting 22-of-52 shots. The Lions made only 5-of-21 from behind the arc.
• The Lions held a 48-39 advantage on the glass, despite the Warhawks securing a 13-11 edge on the offensive boards. Vanguard entered the game leading the nation in offensive rebounds at more than 18 per game.
• The Warhawks committed just seven turnovers, while forcing 16 miscues. AUM held a 16-6 advantage in points off turnovers.
QUOTING THE COACH
“I am so proud to be the coach of this team and for what we accomplished this year,” head coach Dan Davis said. “I think our depth caught up with us a little in the third quarter, but I want to give our team a lot of credit for their effort. We held the nation’s best offensive rebounding team to eight less than their season average and really did a nice job of managing their size. Vanguard did a good job of taking advantage of our missed shots in the third quarter, but I really felt like we gave them everything they could have expected. This team showed a lot of resiliency all season long and today was no different. The seniors were the heart and soul of this team and for them to conclude their college career in the national tournament is fitting. I will miss Tori, Gotti and Marren, but certainly want to thank them for everything they did for their program.”