LAIE, Hawai’i-- The Cougar women’s basketball team wasted no time, jumping out to a 26-4 lead after 10 minutes before cruising to an 84-38 win over BYU-Hawaii on Monday night. Azusa Pacific, which had its six-game winning spree snuffed against Hawai’i Pacific on Saturday, led from start to finish, and closed the game on a tear to open its four-game Hawaiian swing with a 1-1 mark.
Azusa Pacific dominated in every statistical category. The Cougars, who were within six boards of the program’s all-time single-game record, out-rebounded the Seasiders 67-27, pulling in 29 offensive boards off the glass to record 19 second-chance points. Azusa Pacific’s defense held BYU-Hawaii (6-15, 5-10 PWC) to a 20 percent shooting clip from the field, and limited the Seasiders to just 10 points on the inside.
“It was a good team effort from us and we sustained that effort the whole time. We talked about being focused and playing hard and not letting the score or the other team dictate our effort,” said head coach T.J. Hardeman. “We talked after the first half about not letting up. We really tried to focus on being in control of our effort and I thought we did a good job.”
Azusa Pacific had four players in double-digits, with Maddy Barrett and Hannah Kenny tallying 17 points apiece to lead the way. Kenny registered her third straight double-double, and seventh of the year, pulling down a team-high 12 rebounds, while Barrett tabbed her first double-double of the season with 10 boards. The 84 points were a season-high, and since Barrett came back to the Azusa Pacific lineup on Jan. 5 the Cougars are 9-3 and have averaged 67.5 points per game. They put up an average of only 57.6 prior to her arrival (3-6).
“Maddy’s ability to handle the ball, rebound and shoot make her tough to guard. She’s quick enough to go to the basket against bigger players, and she’s too strong for smaller players. That puts coaches in a quandary about how to guard her,” said Hardeman.
Sullivan Ziegler chipped in with 11 points, and tied her season-high with eight rebounds. The sophomore point guard also dished out three assists, while recording a team-high four steals. Kelly Hardeman tallied 13 points after burying a trio of triples.
In the first half the Cougars gained a quick 8-0 edge, and pushed their lead to 18-2 on a triple from Hardeman with 13:38 on the clock. Azusa Pacific continued its run, getting six straight points from Kenny and a trey from Katie Powell to make it a 26-4 contest before the halfway mark of the opening frame. Azusa Pacific recorded six assists, and saw five different players record baskets in the opening spurt that gave the Cougars a sizable cushion throughout the rest of the game.
A 15-4 BYU-Hawaii run nearly cut the Seasiders’ deficit to single digits with Azusa Pacific holding onto a 30-19 advantage, but the Cougars held off the home team to go into the break ahead 37-23.
In the second half Azusa Pacific quickly assumed a 20-point edge on a free throw from Barrett before Amanda Sims got the Cougars over the 50-point mark with a trey to make it a 50-29 game. Ziegler gave Azusa Pacific its first 30-point lead with a free throw with just under 10 minutes remaining, and the Cougars would eventually take their largest lead of the night after a 27-3 run that spanned nearly 11 minutes of play. Azusa Pacific scored 32 of the final 38 points in the game.
Tianna Jones finished with five points, two assists, and a steal, while Cara Bomar nailed a 3-pointer off the bench in the Cougars’ run. Sims paced the Cougars with five assists, while adding five points and three rebounds.
The 46-point margin was the largest in the Hardeman era, and widest for the Cougars since a 110-45 win over San Diego Christian in 2005.
The victory is Azusa Pacific’s seventh in its last eight, and gives the Cougars their 10th Pacific West win this season. The Cougars will continue their Hawaiian excursion on Wednesday when they take on Chaminade at 5 p.m. (HAST) before they leave Oahu for the Big Island for a 5 p.m. tilt with Hawai’i Hilo on Saturday.