JACKSON, Tenn. -- For the second straight night, the NAIA’s No. 6-ranked Azusa Pacific posted a second-half comeback for a win over a Top 10 opponent, using a 10-0 run to take the lead for good in a 78-71 victory over Freed-Hardeman (Tenn.) Friday night at the Jackson Rotary Classic at Union University.
Sophomore guard C.J. Hill and sophomore forward Alex Moore-Porter capped the 10-point run with back-to-back 3-point plays, and junior center Kristie Hala’ufia scored a game-high 24 points to lead the Cougars to the victory.
Azusa Pacific led by as many as 8 points in the opening half when freshman point guard Briana Hall drained 1 of her 2 3-pointers to give the Cougars a 25-17 lead with 8:37 to play in the period. However, Freed-Hardeman responded with a 17-5 run to give the Lady Lions a 34-30 advantage, and the Cougars went into halftime trailing by a 40-38 margin.
Freed-Hardeman led by 6 points 3 times in the first 5 minutes of the second half before freshman center Amber Williams sparked Azusa Pacific’s 10-point spurt, part of a 25-9 run over a nearly 12-minute stretch. Hill finished the run with the last 2 of her 17 points, giving the Cougars their largest lead of the game at 72-62 with 3:27 remaining.
Azusa Pacific had 4 players reach double figures in scoring, with Hall tossing in a season-high 14 points and Moore-Porter adding 11 points. Freed-Hardeman was led by Jana Cross, who scored 19 points, and Meribeth Boehler added 17 points and 8 rebounds for the Lady Lions.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 4-0 on the season, while Freed-Hardeman drops to 4-2 overall. The Cougars wrap up the Jackson Rotary Classic Saturday night, when they take on the NAIA’s top-ranked Union (Tenn.).