LA JOLLA, Calif.-- Kelly Hardeman and Sendy Valles combined for 38 points, Azusa Pacific held Cal State San Bernardino to 24.7 percent shooting, and the Cougar women’s basketball team recorded a 65-50 victory over the Coyotes in the first game of the UCSD Thanksgiving Classic on Friday night.
Azusa Pacific (2-2) built an early double-digit lead thanks to a 10-0 run midway through the first half, and led by as many as 24 behind a dominating defensive effort in which the Cougars spotted CSUSB (0-4) 23 extra shots and still came away with a 15-point win.
“It wasn’t a very pretty game, but I was happy with the way that it was an all-around defensive effort. We didn’t give up easy shots and I was pleased with how our girls defended,” said head coach T.J. Hardeman.
The Cougars never trailed and despite allowing 22 offensive rebounds, out-boarded CSUSB 46-42. Azusa Pacific also turned the ball over 24 times, helping the Coyotes put up 73 shots, of which they only hit 18, including just eight second half field goals. The Coyotes also hit just two of their 24 shots from 3-point range, compared to Azusa Pacific’s five makes on half the attempts (5-12).
No CSUSB player posted a shooting percentage higher than 50 percent against the Cougars’ suffocating defense, although Tayllor Gibson registered the night’s lone double-double with 18 points (7-15) and 10 rebounds.
And while Azusa Pacific as a whole stifled the Coyotes’ shooters, Hardeman and Valles provided the Cougar offense. Hardeman scored a game-high 20 points on 16 shots, and Valles added 18 points on 12 attempts. The Cougars combined to hit over 54 percent of their shots from the field, including a 62.5 percent clip in the opening frame.
“Obviously Sendy and Kelly played well tonight. We have a lot of players that can do damage, and tonight it was them. I thought as a team we played well in spurts, but we lost concentration at times. I was happy that we were able to jump out to an early lead and maintain throughout the night,” said Hardeman.
Allison Greene finished with nine points, four assists, and eight rebounds, while freshman guard Joelle Tampien came off the bench to score eight points after hitting all three of her shots from the floor, including two from beyond the arc. The rookie guard from Spokane gave the Cougars’ their biggest lead of the night when she drained a jumper with 5:39 to play to make it a 61-37 game.
Elena Ala scored two points and recorded six rebounds, while freshman forward Maggie Dumphy grabbed six rebounds off the bench.
Azusa Pacific will return to action on Saturday night when it faces tournament host UC San Diego at 6 p.m. in RIMAC arena. The Cougars fell 79-48 to the Tritons in last year’s Thanksgiving Classic.