HELENA, Mont. -- Junior center Kristie Hala’ufia opened the 2008 season with an impressive 25-point, 11-rebound effort, leading the NAIA’s No. 6-ranked Azusa Pacific to a come-from-behind 74-71 road win over No. 8-ranked Carroll (Mont.) in the Cougars’ season opener Friday night.
Azusa Pacific trailed at half by a 37-29 margin and didn’t lead until the final 5 minutes of the game, taking advantage of 65 percent shooting from the field (17-for-26) after halftime to pick up the win. Sophomore guard C.J. Hill sank all 3 of the Cougars’ 3-point attempts in the second half, finishing with 14 points and 4 assists, and sophomore forward Alex Moore-Porter added 18 points on 8-of-11 shooting along with 5 rebounds.
Hala’ufia was 10-of-18 from the field and 5-of-6 at the free throw line, and she also blocked 2 shots. Sophomore Michelle Byrd was Azusa Pacific’s fourth player in double figures, registering 10 points, and sophomore guard Jessica Raber dished out a game-high 5 assists.
Carroll was led by Elly Bruursema’s 20 points that included perfect 4-of-4 shooting from beyond the 3-point arc, and Alysha Green added 17 points and 5 assists for the Fighting Saints.
With the win, Azusa Pacific’s sixth straight win in season openers, the Cougars are now 1-0 on the season, while Carroll drops back-to-back contests after a 4-0 start to fall to 4-2 on the season.