FULLERTON, Calif. -- Senior center Amber Williams registered her third straight double-double to lead Azusa Pacific to a three-game sweep of non-conference opponents at the Biola Holiday Classic, finishing with game-highs of 26 points and 18 rebounds to lead the Cougars to a 76-59 win over College of the Ozarks (Mo.) Friday afternoon.
Azusa Pacific rebounded nearly half of its own missed shots, grabbing 24 offensive rebounds that included eight of Williams’ 18 boards and also led to 24 second chance points. Three of those offensive boards led to the first five points of a game-clinching 19-5 run that shifted a six-point lead with just under eight minutes to play into a 20-point edge, the Cougars’ biggest lead of the game, with 2:16 remaining.
Williams scored on a putback to get the run started, answering a Morgan Smith basket that had cut Azusa Pacific’s lead to 55-49 with 7:52 left in the game. Senior Jasmyn Reed crashed the offensive glass on a missed free throw on the Cougars’ next possession, leading to a Briana Hall three-pointer that pushed the lead to 60-49. Hall drilled two more treys during the run to put the game away and finish with 14 points on five-of-seven shooting on the night.
Sims added 11 points, while Barrett and Rebecca Roehrkasse combined for nine offensive rebounds, and 16 total boards, to go with a combined 14 points. The double-double for Williams was her seventh of the season.
The Cougars used a 9-0 run over a three-minute stretch late in the first half to take the lead for good, turning a 17-15 deficit into a 24-17 advantage with just under six minutes left in the half. Williams scored the first four points of the run, which also included an Amanda Sims three-pointer followed by a Sims steal that led to a Madalene Barrett jumper in the paint with 5:57 to play.
Although Ozarks got back to within a point at 26-25, Azusa Pacific held them scoreless for the final three and a half minutes of the half to take a 30-25 lead into halftime. The Cougars pushed the lead into double figures within the first two minutes of the second half, pushing the run to 9-1 in a stretch of five minutes across both halves.
College of the Ozarks, which falls to 9-3 overall, was led by Smith’s 17-point, seven-rebound performance. Maranda Vaught added 15 points and a game-high five steals for the Bobcats, although she shot just five-of-17 from the field and was just one-of-nine on two-point shot attempts.
With the win, Azusa Pacific concludes its non-conference schedule with three consecutive victories, which snapped a three-game losing streak heading into the Christmas break. The Cougars, who are now 8-4 overall, dominated the boards in all three post-Christmas contests, registering a combined 156-113 rebounding edge in the three games of this week’s Biola Holiday Classic.
Up next is the return to Golden State Athletic Conference play on Tuesday, Jan. 3, when Azusa Pacific hosts Biola in a 5:30 p.m. matchup at the Felix Event Center.