LA MIRADA, Calif.-- After starting the game on a 19-0 run the NAIA’s No. 11 ranked Azusa Pacific earned a 76-59 win over Cal State San Marcos in the first of a three game slate at the Biola Holiday Classic on Wednesday night to end the team’s four-game skid.
Amanda Sims scored nine of Azusa Pacific’s first 17 points, hitting a trio of triples in the first seven minutes of play.
“It’s huge when you can start the game off like that,” said head coach T.J. Hardeman. “We talked about getting the ball inside and getting hands up on shooters.”
Amber Williams complimented Sims’ outside game with four of the first 17 points and finished with another double (18 pts. 12 reb.) as Azusa Pacific was hitting on all cylinders out of the gate.
“Amber played great. We were looking for her a lot,” said Hardeman. “She was relentless inside as far as posting up and getting rebounds. She was definitely the difference maker.
Cal State San Marcos (8-10) missed its first 13 field goal attempts, including an 0-4 clip from the line, thanks to a stifling Cougar defense that forced seven turnovers in the opening seven minutes.
“We’ve been talking about what we needed to do to get starts like that. We wanted to get back from vacation and play 100 percent,” said Hardeman. “It was a really good overall effort on offense and defense.”
Azusa Pacific (6-4) shot nearly 45 percent from the floor, and hit seven-of-13 from 3-point range, while Cal State San Marcos turned it over 24 times and shot just 35.3 percent from the field; hitting only four of its 16 looks from behind the arc.
Briana Hall added seven assists and 12 points off the bench as she nursed a nagging shoulder injury. The senior guard hit both of her 3-point attempts and finished 5-6 from the field in the game while Tianna Jones, who took Hall’s role at point guard, contributed five points, two rebounds, and two assists on the night.
“Tianna did a good job, but it’s always good to have a 3-year starter as a security blanket off the bench,” said Hardeman. “Everyone played well tonight. It was a total team effort.”
Cal State San Marcos’ Justine Chacon led all scorers with 23 points, and made over one third of the team’s baskets (9) and all four of its 3-pointers.
Madalene Barret scored 12 points on an efficient five-of-seven clip from the floor and added nine rebounds in the freshman’s fifth start of the year.
Azusa Pacific plays Montana Tech. on Thursday at 3 p.m. on the second day of the Holdiday Classic.