LA JOLLA, Calif.--It may have taken a little longer than normal, but on Saturday night the Azusa Pacific women’s basketball team collected its first win of the 2012-13 season, defeating Cal State San Bernardino (1-2) 69-55 in game three of the UCSD Thanksgiving Classic.
The Cougars, who were tied 30-30 with the Coyotes at the break, outscored CSUSB 39-25 in the second half, and got another impressive performance from Hannah Kenny to end Azusa Pacific’s four-game road losing streak. Kenny again scored in double figures, finishing with 17 points and eight rebounds and leads the Cougars with an average of 15.6 points per game on the young season.
Azusa Pacific utilized an early second half run to take control of the contest after freshman Kelly Hardeman nailed two of her three triples of the night. Hardeman scored a game-high 19 points, leading the Cougars in scoring for the third time in five games.
Azusa Pacific shot 50.9 percent in the game, and buried 6-of-16 from beyond the arc. Point guard Sullivan Ziegler had a season-high eight assists, and chipped in with six points and five rebounds. Amanda Sims had a strong all-around game, pulling in nine boards to go with nine points, three steals, and two assists.
The Cougars jumped out to a 13-2 lead to open the game behind five points from Hardeman, and four apiece from Ziegler and Kenny. Trinidee Trice then sparked a 13-1 CSUSB run with three straight baskets to give Cal State San Bernardino a 15-14 lead. Trice scored the Coyotes’ first eight points, and finished with 14 on the night. Azusa Pacific assumed a 23-17 lead on a Calli Jackson layup, but the Coyotes again utilized a spree to pull ahead 28-25.
The Cougars closed the half on a 5-2 run, and finished the frame tied 30-30 thanks to a balanced attack that saw four players with four or more points. Ziegler had her best half of the season, dishing out five assists to go with six points.
In the second half the Cougars used an 18-6 spree to take the reins after the teams were tied 34-34. Azusa Pacific got two treys from Hardeman and a 3-pointer from Katie Powell in the run to make it a 52-40 contest at the 12-minute mark. The Coyotes got back within 10 points twice, but never cut the deficit to single digits as the Cougars held off two CSUSB runs to earn their first win of the year.
Powell finished with six points, while Morgann Ellis added five off the bench. Azusa Pacific shot 56.7 percent from the field in the second half, and held CSUSB to a 38.1 percent clip.
Azusa Pacific will open its first Pacific West Conference season next Saturday at Point Loma. The Sea Lions are 2-1 through three games, and in their only game against a similar opponent so far lost to Cal State L.A. 72-38.