AZUSA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific women’s basketball team scored a season-high 78 points after forcing 31 turnovers in a 78-60 win over Holy Names on Wednesday night. The Cougars, who are coming off of a 1-2 three-game road trip, brought their record back to even (8-8) while improving to 4-0 (5-3 overall) at home in Pacific West Conference action.
Azusa Pacific had four players score in double-figures for the second consecutive time, with Hannah Kenny leading the way with 18 points and seven rebounds as the Cougars converted 31 Holy Names’ turnovers into 46 points.
“It was a little bit of a different game. It was up and down, we took a ton of shots. I was happy that we had 18 assists on 30 makes, and that we played hard on both sides of the floor. There were some real good hustle plays and we showed a lot of energy defensively,” said head coach T.J. Hardeman. “I thought Maddy Barrett played a great game. She had points, steals, rebounds, assists, and really showed her versatility. It’s great to get production like that, especially getting assists from different sources.”
Barrett had one her most complete all-around performances in her two seasons with the program. The sophomore forward paced the Cougars with five steals, eight rebounds, and six assists to go with 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting. She grabbed four offensive boards, and helped Azusa Pacific out-rebound the PacWest’s top rebounding team by 14 (48-34) after the Hawks came into the game averaging over 53 rebounds a night.
Azusa Pacific didn’t shoot all that well in the game, finishing at a 42.3 percent clip (30-for-71), but managed to rebound over half of its 41 misses with 23 offensive boards. The extra possessions led to 21 second-chance points, and helped the Cougars log 42 points in the paint.
“Offensively we didn’t execute very well, but the 23 offensive rebounds shows how hard we were playing. There were times that I was frustrated with our inability to finish, but we got the ball where we wanted a lot and didn’t have too many bad shots,” said Hardeman.
Kelly Hardeman continued to impress in her freshman campaign, scoring 15 points on one end, and blocking four shots on the other. She buried three treys and tallied four rebounds. Point guard Sullivan Ziegler matched Barrett with six assists, and scored in double figures for the second straight game, finishing with 10 points on a perfect 4-of-4 from the field. The sophomore also made an impact on the defensive end, notching four steals.
The game had more turnovers than baskets as the Hawks brought their up-tempo style into the Felix Event Center. The Cougars committed a season-high 27 turnovers, leading to 25 points for Holy Names, which boasted the PacWest’s No. 2 scoring offense at 79.6 points per game.
Azusa Pacific opened the game in control, jumping out to a quick 11-2 lead at the first media timeout, holding the Hawks to a 1-of-8 from the floor in the first four minutes. Holy Names, however, responded on a run with Sonia Aguilar leading a 13-2 spurt that saw the visiting team take a 15-13 edge with 9:35 to play in the opening half.
Amanda Sims ended the Hawks’ spree with her first 3-pointer of the night, and the two teams traded leads over the next two possessions with Kali Taelefi giving Holy Names its final lead of the night on a jumper to make it a 19-18 game. Hardeman hit two free throws, and ignited a 17-4 Azusa Pacific run over the remaining six minutes of the frame. In the run Shannon Austin recorded a steal and scored her first basket in her first night of action for the team. The Cal State Northridge transfer finished with six points and five rebounds.
Azusa Pacific went into the break ahead 35-23, and Kenny scored 12 of her 18 points in the first 20 minutes of play. Early in the second half the Cougars took a commanding 19-point lead, but the Hawks cut the deficit to as few as 10 points at 58-48 with 6:29 to play. Azusa Pacific then utilized another big run, scoring 14 of the next 16 points to go up by 22 and put the game away.
Sims finished with seven points, six rebounds, three assists, and four steals, while Cara Bomar added four points off the bench. The win was the team’s second straight when allowing its opponent to score 60 points after the Cougars lost each of their previous eight games when allowing a team reach the 60-point threshold.
Azusa Pacific will return to the court on Saturday when it welcomes Notre Dame de Namur for a 1 p.m. tip. The Cougars are 3-0 all-time against the Argonauts.