Campbellsville, Ky.-- For the second straight night the NAIA’s No. 3 ranked Azusa Pacific struggled to shoot as it lost 80-69 to No. 25 Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Saturday night at the Citizens Bank & Trust Holiday Hoops Classic.
The Cougars had a much better showing defensively against the Blue Raiders than Campbellsville, but shot just over 37 percent from the field in a rematch from last year’s NAIA second round game.
“We played better, but for the second straight night we didn’t shoot well,” said head coach TJ Hardeman. “For a new team it’s natural to have struggles on the road against good teams. It’s a learning process for everybody and that’s why we’re here.”
In the first half Azusa Pacific (5-3) took a lead into the break when Tianna Jones followed up an Amanda Sims miss to give the Cougars a 32-31 edge over the Blue Raiders (8-3). But Lindsey Wilson used a 10-0 run early in the second half en route to outscoring the Cougars 49-37 over the final 20 minutes.
Azusa Pacific had three players finish in double digits, led again by Amber Williams, who recorded a double-double (21 points, 11 rebounds) and hit nine of 11 free throws as the center earned all-tournament honors. Jones was the only Cougar to shoot well from 3-point range as the point guard went 3-4 from beyond the arc (5-7 overall) to finish with 15 points. Sims recorded 10 points, but struggled to shoot the ball as she ended the night 4-12 from the floor.
Lindsey Wilson was led by Ashley Rainey’s 26 points and nine rebounds and Monny Niamke’s sharp shooting (3-3 from 3-point range).
“They played well and that’s what we came here for. We came to Kentucky to play good teams and to grow,” said Hardeman. “I think we come away knowing where we need to improve.”
The Cougars will have a chance to show their growth when they face NCAA Div. II Cal Poly Pomona on the road at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday night.