AZUSA, Calif. – Junior Marie Dyk had a team-high 14 points, spearheaded by a quartet of three-pointers, to lead 4 Cougars in double figures as Azusa Pacific defeated NCAA Division III Chapman, 67-64, in Azusa.
The win is the Cougars’ second in row, and it also snaps Chapman’s 6-game winning streak.
The Cougars took their first lead of the game at the 8:27 mark of the first half and never relinquished it the rest of the way. The Cougar lead ballooned to as many as 15 before Chapman made things interesting with a late surge. The Panthers trailed by 3 and had the ball for the final 13 seconds, but missed on 3 game-tying attempts, and the Cougars survived.
“We’ve said all along that we put together an extremely tough schedule to get against the best competition to help us come together quickly,” said head coach Matt Elofson. “At times, we saw that tonight. It was good for us to win a close game. This was the first one of the season that we were able to pull out. We are relatively inexperienced and still learning how to win, so this was good for us.”
Ignited by back-to-back bombs from Dyk and Jaclyn Rice, the Cougars opened the second half with a 12-5 run to turn an 8-point (37-29) halftime lead into their largest lead of the night (49-34) with 14:54 to play. Behind the play of leading scorers Melody Bongiorno (26 points) and Caroline Jensen (21 points), Chapman began to chip away at the deficit and trailed by just 5 (64-59) with 3:16 left. At one point, the 6-1 Jensen scored 16 of the Panthers’ 19 points midway through the second half.
However, Candis Regan was fouled as she buried on a 3-point bucket with the shot clock winding down to push the advantage back up to 8. She missed the ensuing free throw attempt, and the Cougars never scored again. But they didn’t need to as Chapman hit just 1-of-4 shots and 3-of-4 free throws in the final 2:43 of the contest.
Chapman led for the most of the first half, but could take no more than a 4-point lead at any time. Azusa Pacific then took a 23-21 lead with 5:39 to play in the first half when Dyk hit back-to-back treys to lift the Cougars’ to a 29-21 lead they would not relinquish with 4:20 to play. Paige Bateman then scored 6 of the Cougars’ next 8 points to close out the half, and the Cougars led 37-29 at the intermission.
“In the first half, she (Dyk) really sparked us with her shooting,” said Elofson. “That made them (Chapman) uncomfortable since she was shooting so well.”
Sophomore Kelsey Hudson finished with 12 points and 4 rebounds. Freshman Lindsey West and Regan each added 10 points. As a team, the Cougars connected on 7-of-18 three-pointers.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 2-7 overall. Chapman drops to 6-4.