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Cougars Drop PacWest Opener

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Photo by Joe Reinsch
Sullivan Ziegler scored six points and dished out seven assists, but couldn't help the Cougars overcome a difficult shooting night.

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Published
December 1, 2012
By
Chris Baker
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SAN DIEGO, Calif.-- The Cougars’ first-ever Pacific West Conference game will likely be one the Azusa Pacific women’s basketball team will want to forget. The Cougars shot just 27 percent from the floor, committed 22 turnovers, and scored the fewest points in a conference game since 2008, falling to Point Loma 61-42 on Saturday afternoon.

The Cougars never led, and were outscored 35-22 in the second half, while the Sea Lions shot 41 percent from the field and from deep to improve to 3-2 this year. Azusa Pacific (1-5) didn’t have a player score in double figures, but Kelly Hardeman led all Cougars with nine points and nearly posted a double-double, pulling in 11 boards. Sullivan Ziegler had a hand in nine of the Cougars’ 16 field goals, finishing with seven assists and six points on 2-of-5 shooting.

Point Loma outscored the Cougars 28-16 in the paint, and converted Azusa Pacific’s 22 turnovers into 19 points. The Cougars outrebounded the Sea Lions 47-37 to hold an 11-7 edge on points in the paint.

The Sea Lions opened the game with a layup, and a minute later Amanda Sims responded with a jumper to make it 2-2. Then over the next five minutes the two teams exchanged bricks, combining to miss 11 shots and commit seven turnovers. Point Loma then buried a triple to make it 5-2 and at the 12-minute mark the two squads had teamed up to score seven points on 3-of-17 shooting in some of the most forgettable 12 minutes of basketball you’ll ever see.

Sims cut the deficit to a point on a pair of free throws before the Sea Lions extended their early lead to four points on a 3-pointer from Jil Haentges. Azusa Pacific scored seven of the next 10 points, and got its only tie of the half on a Calli Jackson layup. Point Loma then went on a 10-3 spree to take a 21-14 edge and went into the break with a 26-20 lead.

In the first half the Cougars shot just 29 percent from the floor, and coughed the ball up 11 times. The Sea Lions were also cold, but shot relatively well, finishing with a 39 percent clip in the opening frame.

In the second half Hardeman kicked things off with a jumper to make it a four-point game, but the Sea Lions went on a 16-0 run to go ahead 42-22. The Cougars fought back to cut Point Loma’s lead to 14 with six straight points, but couldn’t overcome the 20-point deficit as the Sea Lions posted the 61-42 win. The 42 points were the fewest for the Cougars in a conference game since a 69-41 loss to Westmont in 2008.

Hannah Kenny tallied seven points to go with seven rebounds, while Sims finished with four points and four rebounds. Morgann Ellis added six points off the bench and freshman forward Lauren Gilster pulled in six rebounds to go with three points.

The Cougars won’t have much time to recover from Saturday’s loss with a matchup against Biola set for Monday night at 7 p.m. in La Mirada. Azusa Pacific split its games with the Eagles last season, trading a pair of 51-49 decisions.

Azusa Pacific, which has yet to play a home game this season, will host the Azusa Pacific Invitational on Dec. 18-19 in the Felix Event Center. The Cougars are slated to face off with George Fox and Cal Poly Pomona.