AZUSA, Calif. -- Sophomore guard Briana Hall scored 7 of her 13 points in the last seven minutes rounding out a 17-4 run that provided No. 11-ranked Azusa Pacific its margin of victory in a 73-60 win over Westmont Tuesday night at the Felix Event Center.
Having not played since last Thursday, the Cougars started out a little flat, giving up 14 turnovers in the first half. Azusa Pacific fixed the problem giving up only 3 turnovers in the second half, limiting Westmont’s points off turnovers to the 10 they had before halftime.
“We asked them to slow down a little bit,” said head coach T.J. Hardeman. “We were rushing things in the first half. Just slowing down and securing the ball definitely paid off in the second half.”
Junior forward Alex Moore-Porter scored a team-high 22 points, including 4 of the 17 points in the last 7-minute run. The Cougar defense then held Westmont to 1-for-12 in shots over the final 7:16 to seal the victory.
“The last seven minutes were defensive stops and shot selection,” said Moore-Porter. “We were able to execute both on offense and defense because we had the right shot selection and we had defensive stops and we weren’t turning the ball over.”
The Cougars extend their winning streak to 5 games with the win, placing them in first place in GSAC, tied with No. 2-ranked Point Loma Nazarene, going into the second half of the conference season.
“It’s one step closer to meeting our goal to win the GSAC title,” said Moore-Porter, who also grabbed 10 rebounds for her fourth double-double of the year. “You have to execute along the way so I’m glad we executed this in the mid-point of our season.”
Junior center Kristie Hala’ufia also posted a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds to lead Azusa Pacifc to an impressive 49-36 rebounding edge. Jessica Case scored a game-high 26 points to lead Westmont, which shot 33% (22-for-66) despite Case’s 10-of-17 performance.
With the victory, the Cougars improve to 16-4 overall, 9-1 in GSAC. Westmont drops 11-7 overall, 4-6 in GSAC.
“The GSAC is so competitive,” said Hardeman. “We had a lot of home games first round and second round we go to a lot of places, so we really need to be able to go on the road and be ready to battle every night. As hard as it is to win a GSAC game, it’s even harder to win a GSAC game on the road.”
The Cougars travel to Concordia and The Master’s before returning home to host California Baptist on Friday, Feb. 5.