AZUSA, Calif. -- Senior guard Michelle Byrd tallied 33 points, while shooting 11-for-19 (.579) from the field including 6-for-8 (.750) from 3-point range, and had 11 rebounds, 8 steals, and 3 assists as Azusa Pacific won both of its GSAC games against nationally-ranked teams last week. As a result, the Cougars also moved up in this week's national rankings, climbing 1 spot to No. 3 in the weekly NAIA Top 25 Coaches Poll.
Byrd scored a career-high 22 points in an 82-70 win over No. 5 California Baptist, moving Azusa Pacific into sole possession of first place in the GSAC. She was 5-of-6 on 3-pointers, hitting 4 first-half treys, and defensively collected a game-high 5 steals.
On the road at No. 21 Westmont, Byrd scored all 11 of her points and grabbed 6 rebounds (all offensive) after halftime as the Cougars rallied from a 6-point deficit in the second half for the 68-62 win.
Azusa Pacific has 4 games remaining in the regular season, beginning with Thursday's 5:30 p.m. matchup with Vanguard, a clash between last year's GSAC co-champions. Vanguard is the last ranked team remaining on the Cougars' regular-season schedule, as the Cougars wrap up with road games at Hope International (Feb. 19) and The Master's (Feb. 22) before returning home for the regular-season finale against San Diego Christian on Saturday, Feb. 26.