EL CAJON, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific never trailed in an 80-62 win at San Diego Christian Thursday night, guaranteeing the NAIA’s No. 7-ranked Cougars at least a share of first place in the Golden State Athletic Conference standings heading into Monday’s regular-season finale.
Junior forward Alex Moore-Porter scored a team-high 19 points, including 15 in the first half. She sank 6-of-8 from the field, including 2-of-4 from beyond the arc, and 5-of-6 from the charity stripe.
Azusa Pacific scored 13 of the game’s first 15 points, then outscored the Hawks 23-10 over the final 9-plus minutes of the half. Junior center Kristel Eddington’s lay-up in the closing seconds capped the run and sent the Cougars into halftime with a commanding 23-point lead, 48-25. Eddington also gave Azusa Pacific its largest lead of the game midway through the second half, a 31-point margin at 66-35 with 10:46 remaining.
The Cougars shot 52 percent (17-for-33) in the opening half, hitting 6-of-9 3-pointers and 8-of-10 free throws while committing just 4 first-half turnovers. Moore-Porter and junior guard C.J. Hill combined for 28 first-half points, outscoring the entire San Diego Christian team before halftime. Moore-Porter hit all 5 of her first-half field goal attempts, including 2 treys.
Azusa Pacific got 31 bench points, and all 15 players in uniform saw extended action in the second half with every Cougar in uniform logging between 6 and 20 minutes of playing time in the blowout victory. The Cougars outscored San Diego Christian in the paint by a 46-12 margin. Eddington led the bench production with 12 points, shooting 5-of-9 from the field.
San Diego Christian’s Torreya Edwards was the high scorer of the evening with 26 points, hitting 3-of-7 from 3-point land, and she also registered game-highs of 8 rebounds and 6 assists.
Hill tallied 17 points on 6-of-11 shooting from the field, and junior center Kristie Hala’ufia scored 9 points with a team-high 7 rebounds in just 11 minutes of play. Sophomore point guards Cherie Hughes and Briana Hall each dished out a team-high 5 assists, and Azusa Pacific came up with 15 steals.
Azusa Pacific improves to 24-5 overall and 17-2 in GSAC play, while San Diego Christian falls to 4-23 overall, 1-17 GSAC. Azusa Pacific has 1 regular-season contest remaining, a Monday, March 1 visit to Westmont, while GASC co-leader Vanguard hosts Westmont on Saturday before wrapping up the regular season with a Monday home game against California Baptist.
The Cougars have clinched home-court advantage through at least the semifinals of the GSAC Postseason Tournament, starting with a first-round home game on Wednesday, March 3 at 7:30 p.m. Playoff ticket prices, which are determined by the GSAC Executive Committee, are $8 for adults and $5 for students and seniors for Wednesday's first-round game. Children under 10 are admitted free.