LA MIRADA, Calif. -- Azusa Pacific’s rollercoaster week ended on a high note, as the NAIA’s No. 8-ranked Cougars smashed the program’s single-game rebounding record with 73 rebounds in a 101-49 win over La Sierra Thursday afternoon on the final day of action at the Biola Holiday Classic.
The previous record of 65 rebounds in a game was set 19 years ago in an 80-34 win over Cal Lutheran in the 1991-92 campaign. In Thursday’s win, the Cougars tied the mark with over 5 minutes remaining, with sophomore Whitley Brown’s offensive rebound, one of the team’s 37 offensive rebounds, and sophomore forward Calli Jackson hauled in the record-setting 66th Cougar rebound defensively on a missed 3-point attempt with 4:48 to play.
All 16 of Azusa Pacific’s players got at least 7 minutes of action in the contest, with 15 different Cougars registering at least a point and 14 different players contributing to the commanding 73-36 rebounding edge. Azusa Pacific pulled down more offensive rebounds (37) than La Sierra had in total rebounds (36), and the Cougars’ 100-point outburst was the first since last year’s 101-92 win over Vanguard.
Freshman forward Hannah Kenny averaged nearly a rebound per minute, grabbing a career-high 12 rebounds in 14 minutes, and there were 6 other Cougars with at least 5 rebounds. Senior forward Alex Moore-Porter was one of them, pulling 7 of her 8 rebounds off the offensive boards while scoring a season-high 22 points on a 10-of-12 shooting performance from the field.
In the final 5 minutes of the opening half, Azusa Pacific blew the game wide open, using a 25-5 explosion to parlay a modest 8-point lead into a commanding 28-point halftime advantage at 47-19. Moore-Porter scored on 3 consecutive trips down the floor to help launch the half-ending burst, and she did the same with 3 straight baskets early in the second half of a 23-2 run that gave the Cougars a 70-21 lead less than 5 minutes into the second half.
The end result was a jaw-dropping 48-7 run over 9 minutes and 16 seconds of game action, separated only by the halftime break. Moore-Porter accounted for 18 of Azusa Pacific’s 48 points in the run.
The Cougar reserves were just as effective, providing a 50-24 margin in bench scoring and running the lead to as many as 60 points with junior guard Cherie Hughes’s 3-pointer with 2 minutes left pushing Azusa Pacific’s tally past the century mark for a 101-41 lead.
Junior point guard Briana Hall hit all 3 of her 3-point attempts, scoring 13 points while dishing out 5 assists, and Hughes turned in a solid all-around performance with 5 points and 5 rebounds to go with a game-high 6 assists. Junior guard Eboni Sadler was the Cougars’ only other double-digit scorer, contributing 10 points with 6 rebounds, 3 assists and 3 steals.
La Sierra was led by a 15-point effort from Joirdan Jones, and the Golden Eagles got another 14 points off the bench from Stephanie Bryant.
The non-conference portion of Azusa Pacific’s schedule is now complete, and the Cougars take an 11-3 overall record into the final 16 games of the regular season, all in Golden State Athletic Conference play. Azusa Pacific sits in a 5-way tie for first place in the GSAC with a 3-1 conference record, and up next for the Cougars is a Jan. 4 visit to one of the GSAC co-leaders, No. 17 California Baptist.