SAN DIEGO, Calif.-- When you miss nearly 80 percent of your shots and still get the win you know things are going well. And that was the story on Tuesday night as the NAIA’s 13th ranked Azusa Pacific overcame dreadful shooting to post a 59-42 win over an equally hapless Point Loma Nazarene team.
The Cougars (12-5, 5-2), who out-rebounded the Sea Lions 66-34, got another huge performance from Amber Williams, and a remarkable 19-rebound effort from freshman Maddy Barrett to overpower Point Loma Nazarene (12-6, 3-4) thanks to two simple ingredients: effort and determination.
“I thought our whole team’s drive stuck out. We talked about playing with intensity and our girls really did that tonight. It was just nice to see,” said head coach T.J. Hardeman.
Williams registered her second 30-point output in the last three games, and pulled down 19 rebounds, 14 on the offensive end, to help get the Cougars a 15-shot disparity in a contest where baskets were at a premium.
"Amber was relentless tonight. She got a ton of offensive boards, and they’re a big team. She played very, very well,” added Hardeman.
Barrett, who went scoreless on five shots, recorded a career-high 19 boards as she and her senior counterpart out-rebounded the Sea Lions 38-34. Barrett’s seven offensive rebounds matched Point Loma’s team total, while Williams’ 14 were twice as many as the Sea Lions took off the glass.
“Maddy was great tonight. I don’t think it’s a stat that’s kept, but 19 rebounds has to be a freshman record,” said Hardeman as Barrett’s 19 boards did tie the record for most by a freshman; matching a mark set by Corrine DeJong in a 1980 loss to Cal State Northridge.
Amanda Sims also ended the game with double-digits in the rebounding column to snag a double-double with 10 points and 10 boards.
But it should come to nobody’s surprise that the rebounding totals were so high as no Cougar shot better than 41 percent in the game. In fact, no player that took more than two shots finished better than 50 percent from the floor.
In the game each team made only 16 shots, with the scoring differential coming only by free throws as Azusa Pacific got to the line 23 more times than the Sea Lions did. The Cougars made 25-of-33 from the charity stripe, while Point Loma buried seven of its 10 free throws.
Briana Hall, who made all eight of her free throws, highlighted Azusa Pacific’s shooting woes; going 2-for-17 from the field including an 0-for-11 showing from beyond the arc. However the senior guard managed to get five assists, ending the game with a hand in seven of the team’s 16 field goals.
And while the team’s ineptness on the offensive end may make it seem like the Cougars played poorly, Hardeman was happy with his team’s performance.
“We didn’t shoot the ball well at all, but we didn’t take bad shots,” said Hardeman. “Defensively we did a very good job and we didn’t give them anything on the boards.”
With the win Azusa Pacific stayed at third place in the GSAC, situated behind two teams that the Cougars held double-digit road advantages on before relinquishing last minute leads. On Friday they welcome San Diego Christian to Azusa before concluding the opening half of the GSAC season with a home game against The Master’s next Tuesday.