Azusa Pacific 77
AZUSA, Calif. –To Vanguard, tonight’s game was a mere formality. It was the Lion’s final regular-season game, and they had already clinched the GSAC title, the league’s automatic bid to the 2003 NAIA Tournament, and the top seed in the upcoming GSAC Tournament.
As a result, the pressure was off, and it showed. Vanguard lit the Felix Event Center nets on fire to the tune of 55.6% (15-for-27) from beyond the arc in an 85-77 win over Azusa Pacific.
It seemed that Azusa Pacific was playing catch-up all night, and whenever the Cougars made a substantial effort to get back into the contest, the Lions were there with a clutch bomb to in essence explode the Cougars’ hopes.
Vanguard’s Paulette Seaman finished with a team-high 20 points, hitting her sixth and final 3-pointer to turn back the Cougars, who had rallied from a 9-point deficit to close within 4. Her trey pushed the Lion lead back up to 7 (77-70) with 3:25 to play to put the game out of reach.
The Cougars opened the game with a 20-10 lead just 8 minutes into the game in which 5 different players scored. The Lions then answered with an 18-6 spurt, keyed by back-to-back treys by Seaman and Cecilia Josefsson to take a 28-26 lead with 6:16 to play.
Freshman Lindsey West poured in a career-high 28 points on 11-of-14 shooting, and her lay-up gave the lead back to Azusa Pacific, 33-32, with 3:16 to play in the first half. However, Seaman hit back-to-back 3-pointers as the Lions closed the half with an 11-2 run to take a 43-35 lead into the locker room. They never trailed again.
The Lions opened an 11-point lead (50-39) at one point in the second half, but a 17-8 Cougar run that ended with a pair of Marie Dyk free throws trimmed the lead down to 2 (58-56) with 12:28 to play. The Cougars trailed by 3 (65-62) when again the Lions answered with back-to-back bombs by Jennifer Wilcox and Josefsson to push the advantage back up to 9 (71-62) with 8:35 to play.
More than half of Vanguard’s made shots from the floor were from downtown (15 of their 26 makes). To further put into perspective, the Lions hit more treys than the Cougars did free throws. Josefsson finished with 17 points off the bench (4-of-6 from beyond the arc). Wilcox added 12 points and 10 rebounds.
West grabbed 7 rebounds to go along with her career-high 28 points. It was her sixth straight 20-point effort, and her seventh in the past 8 games. Jaclyn Rice finished with 16 points and a trio of treys. Dyk added 13 points off the bench.
With the loss, Azusa Pacific drops to 10-20 overall, 8-11 GSAC. Vanguard improves to 23-8, 18-2.