FRESNO, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific bounced back from its first Golden State Athletic Conference defeat, shaking off Saturday’s loss to No. 3-ranked Point Loma Nazarene with a convincing 81-65 road win over Fresno Pacific Tuesday night. The victory was the fourth double-digit win for the NAIA’s No. 12-ranked Cougars through 6 games of GSAC play.
Juniors C.J. Hill and Alex Moore-Porter combined for 52 of Azusa Pacific’s 81 points, with Hill sinking 8 of her 9 shots on the night, including all 3 of her 3-point attempts, en route to a career-high 22 points. Moore-Porter was 13-of-19 from the field and finished with 30 points and a team-high 7 rebounds, providing her second 30-point game of the year for the Cougars.
“Anytime you travel to Fresno and come home with a win, you have to feel like the game went well,” head coach T.J. Hardeman said. “I thought the team played and worked well together. It’s tough to go on the road and win in this conference, so we were very happy to get a win at Fresno.”
The Cougars shot a blistering 61 percent (28-for-46) from the field, with sophomore point guard Briana Hall knocking down 2-of-3 from 3-point range to join Hill and Moore-Porter in double figures with 14 points. Hill added a team-high 5 assists, and Hall was turnover-free for the first time this season.
Throughout most of the first half, the score remained close, with neither team leading by more than 5 points until Hill and Hall each sank 3-pointers to complete a 13-3 run that gave Azusa Pacific a 9-point cushion at 36-27 with just under a minute remaining in the first half. Fresno Pacific converted its final 2 possessions of the half to cut the Cougars’ halftime lead to 36-31.
The Cougars shot a respectable 57 percent (13-for-23) from the floor in the first half, but the second half was a different story. Led by Hill and Moore-Porter, Azusa Pacific was 2 shots better in the second half, knocking down 15-of-23 (65 percent) while expanding the margin to as many as 22 points when a pair of Hall free throws capped a 17-2 run that gave the Cougars a 70-48 lead with 7:17 to play.
“Fresno Pacific shot (nearly) 50 percent for the game, so we tried to keep defensive pressure on them and limit them to one shot,” said Hardeman. “They finally missed a few shots, so we were able to get out and get a lead on them.”
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 12-4 overall and 5-1 GSAC. Fresno Pacific drops to 4-12 overall and 1-5 GSAC. Azusa Pacific will host No. 4-ranked Vanguard Saturday at 5:30 p.m.