SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 5-ranked Azusa Pacific shot a season-low 31 percent (14-for-45) from the field, and Westmont dealt the Cougars their worst defeat of the season, a 69-41 loss Tuesday night. The setback also marked the first back-to-back losses for Azusa Pacific this season.
Westmont broke open a 6-point game for good late in the first half, holding the Cougars without a field goal for nearly 6 minutes to end the period before senior guard Sarah Leathers knocked down a 3-pointer in the closing seconds before the halftime buzzer. During that time, the Warriors reeled off a 19-3 run to take a 38-16 lead before the Leathers trey cut the margin to 38-19 at the break.
For the first 10 minutes of the second half, Westmont maintained at least a 15-point advantage, then held Azusa Pacific without a field goal for another 6-minute stretch. The result was a 17-4 run that gave the Warriors their largest lead of the game at 64-35 with just 4:45 to play in the game.
Leathers was the only Cougar to finish in double figures, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers in a 12-point effort. Senior forward Abby Johnson was held to 7 points, all in the second half. It was just the third time she failed to reach double figures in a game this season, snapping an 11-game streak of scoring at least 10 points. Junior forward Nikita Gordon added 8 points and a team-high 7 rebounds off the bench.
Westmont, meanwhile, posted its largest margin of victory over a conference opponent this season, and the Warriors have now won 13 of 16 games since their 69-63 defeat at Azusa Pacific Nov. 27. Jessica Case, Stephanie Anderson and Ali Mooty scored 9 points apiece on 11-of-17 shooting in the first half alone, helping Westmont to a 67 percent (16-for-24) performance from the field in the opening half. Case finished with game-highs of 17 points and 7 assists, while Mooty finished with a 12-point, 10-rebound double-double.
With the loss, Azusa Pacific drops to 17-5 overall, 9-3 GSAC, while Westmont improves to 15-5 overall, 7-5 GSAC. The Cougars host Concordia Friday at 5:30 p.m.