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Trio Leads Cougars Past Eagles

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Photo by Ken Williams
Briana Hall registered 13 assists and 18 points against Concordia on Saturday night.

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Published
February 11, 2012
By
Chris Baker
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IRVINE, Calif.-- When the NAIA’s No. 13 ranked Azusa pacific gets its top-3 going the Cougars are hard to beat, and Concordia found that out Saturday night as Azusa Pacific posted a 74-61 road win.

The Cougars’ (18-6, 11-3) trio of Amanda Sims, Amber Williams, and Briana Hall scored 55 of the team’s 74 points and accounted for all 17 of the Cougars’ assists.

Hall was phenomenal, scoring 18 points while dishing out a season-high 13 assists. Hall continually found Sims, assisting on four of her five 3-pointers, and again on a layup. The senior guard also created for herself, getting to the line 12 times and burying 11 free throws.

On the inside Williams continued her impressive senior campaign with a 20-point, 13-rebound, three-block performance and helped the Cougars to a 53-36 rebounding disparity over the Eagles. Jasmyn Reed, who started for just the second time this season, and Maddy Barrett pulled down eight boards apiece. On the wing Sims was deadly as she tied a season-high with five 3-pointers. The junior finished with 17 points, four rebounds, and three steals.

"I don’t think we’ve lost when all three of them have played well. We’re extremely hard to guard because they’re all different weapons, you have to pick your poison a little bit,” said head coach T.J. Hardeman. “They concentrated on Amber and she still played well. Briana did a great job tonight of finding people, and it was nice for us to find Amanda.”

Concordia (7-14, 4-10) opened the game with a Carly Bishop trey, but Sims responded with one of her own before Hall buried a pair of free throws to give Azusa Pacific a lead, one that would hold out for the entirety. Concordia, however, would keep it close in the first half, pulling to within a point (12-11) at the 11:13 mark.

But a 12-0 Cougar run, opened by a Williams jumper and capped by a Hall triple, put the Eagles at bay; at least for a few minutes. A 14-6 spree from Concordia brought the home team to within six points at 30-24, but Hall found Williams inside to end the half with Azusa Pacific leading 32-24.

Hall Registered nine first half points, and divvied out six assists. Williams and Sims combined for 19 points in the opening 20 minutes, but the rest of the team added just four points.

The second frame saw both teams trade baskets before Azusa pacific began to pull away at the eight minute mark with a brief 9-2 run that gave the Cougars their biggest lead of the game (21) to make it 67-46 with 5:15 on the clock when Reed turned a block into a fast break layup by Sims.

The Eagles closed with five straight points, but that effort was simply too late as the Cougars posted a 74-61 win.

Azusa Pacific didn’t shoot overly well, making 36.5 percent (23-63) of its shots from the floor. But the Cougars nailed 22 of 27 free throws, and held Concordia to a 31.7 percent (20-63) clip from the field to post the win.

“We’re doing better defensively. It’s one of the final components of us getting it and dictating more defensively,” said Hardeman. “I thought we anticipated where their players were and where we need to be. It’s been good to see us improve.”

Hannah Kenny was the team’s fourth leading scorer with six points, while Rebecca Roehrkasse finished with five points and two rebounds. The Cougars have just two weeks of regular season play left, and face Point Loma Nazarene on Tuesday at home.