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Point Of No Return

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Photo by Ken Williams

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Published
February 22, 2014
By
Chris Baker
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AZUSA, Calif.-- The Azusa Pacific women’s basketball team couldn’t hold off hot-shooting Point Loma, falling 82-61 to the Sea Lions on Saturday afternoon. PLNU shot 60 percent from 3-point range, and had a trio of 20-point scorers outscore Azusa Pacific as the Cougars lost their second straight home game after opening the PacWest season with an 8-0 record in the Felix Event Center.

The Sea Lions, who led by as many as 23 Saturday, separated from the Cougars (16-8, 14-4) with a six-minute 19-0 run in the first half to take a 34-12 lead with 7:10 on the clock. From then on the Cougars could only get back to within 11 points, a deficit quickly pushed back to 14 on one of the Sea Lions’ nine 3-pointers in the game.

PLNU’s Callie Rhoads nailed six 3-pointers and tallied 20 points, while Jessica Escorza and Erin Andersen combined for 42 points to hand Azusa Pacific its second straight loss to the Sea Lions this season. Point Loma registered 21 assists on its 28 field goals, with Savannah Erskine dishing out a game-high 13 assists.

Allison Greene and Sendy Valles each tabbed a team-high 11 points in a game where the Sea Lions generated a 26-5 advantage in free throw attempts. The Cougars shot 41.7 percent from the floor, and turned the ball over 20 times to help Point Loma record a 26-14 edge in points off turnovers. Maggie Dumphy scored 10 points, and Annie Fredrickson finished with six points and seven rebounds in her final regular season home game.

With 13:03 left in the first half the Cougars trailed the Sea Lions 15-12 before PLNU went on a 19-0 run to take control of the game. A Rhoads trey following a Point Loma free throw made it a 19-12 game before back-to-back buckets from Escorza increased the deficit to 23-12.

Over the balance of the run Andersen scored eight points, and Rhoads added a triple until Kelly Hardeman ended the Azusa Pacific drought with a triple from the wing to make it a 34-15 game. Greene gave the Cougars momentum with a jumper in the lane, and Valles layin got Azusa Pacific to within 15 points. The Sea Lions, however, took a 20-point lead into the break.

In the second half the Cougars cut into the Point Loma lead, bringing the score to 58-45 on a Fredrickson basket, and after Valles forced a steal and scored on a runner in the paint, Azusa Pacific trailed by only 11 points with over 11 minutes remaining in the game. But the Sea Lions answered with a 3-pointer on the other end before going up by as many as 23 to clinch their seventh straight win with an 82-61 victory.

The Cougar loss sealed Academy of Art’s Pacific West Conference championship, taking the luster off a highly anticipated matchup between the Cougars and the Urban Knights on Thursday night in San Francisco. Azusa Pacific will close the regular season against Dominican on Saturday before competing in the National Christian College Athletics Association West Region tournament.