SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- The NAIA’s No. 18-ranked Azusa Pacific scored just 6 points in the first 10 minutes of a 73-56 loss at No. 8-ranked Point Loma Nazarene Saturday night, the Cougars’ fifth loss in 8 conference road games this season.
The setback extended Azusa Pacific’s streak of road losses at Point Loma Nazarene to 9 straight, and the Cougars have now dropped 15 of their last 16 visits to the Sea Lions in Golden Gymnasium.
Colleen Planeta, the GSAC’s scoring and shot-blocking leader, scored on back-to-back possessions and blocked a shot at the other end in-between, to cap a game-opening 8-0 run for Point Loma Nazarene, and the Sea Lions never looked back. Freshman Briana Hall’s 3-pointer with 16:54 to play in the first half was the only Azusa Pacific bucket over the next 5 minutes of play, and the Sea Lions took advantage, racing to a 22-6 lead midway through the opening half.
The Cougars twice closed to within 6 points late in the period, first on a C.J. Hill 3-pointer with 6:34 left, and then again on another Hall trey with 4:14 remaining that cut the lead to 27-21. However, Planeta drilled a 3-pointer herself and knocked down a pair of free throws to cap a 7-0 run to close the half and give the Sea Lions a 34-21 halftime advantage.
Point Loma Nazarene took its first 20-point lead at 43-23 on a Planeta layup less than 4 minutes into the second half, and Liah Ector’s free throws with 13:22 remaining gave Point Loma Nazarene a 20-point margin that held up until sophomore guard Jessica Raber’s 3-pointer in the closing seconds cut the final margin to 73-56.
Planeta finished with a game-high 26 points to go with 7 rebounds and a game-high 7 blocks. Hall was 1 of 3 Cougars to reach double-figures, matching 10-point efforts from junior center Kristie Hala’ufia and sophomore forward Alex Moore-Porter. Hall added team-highs of 4 assists and 4 steals.
Azusa Pacific drops to 18-7 overall, 9-6 GSAC with the setback, and the Cougars head into their longest conference road trip of the season, a Tuesday visit to Fresno Pacific, clinging to a 1-game margin over Biola for fourth place in the conference standings. Point Loma Nazarene pulls to within a half-game of conference leader Vanguard, improving to 20-4 overall, 14-2 GSAC, with the win.