SANTA BARBARA, Calif. –Azusa Pacific used a 22-5 run over the final minutes of the first half to turn a 20-16 lead into a 21-point advantage then held on tightly for a 73-68 GSAC win at Santa Barbara.
With the win, the Cougars clinch the sixth seed in the upcoming GSAC Postseason Tournament and will travel to Santa Clarita to take on third seed The Master’s College Thursday at 7:30 p.m.
All-GSAC freshman Lindsey West finished with 15 points and 6 rebounds, and her pair of free throws at the 15:10 mark gave the Cougars a 7-6 lead they would never lose. The Warriors closed to within 4 (20-16) midway through the first half, and then within 3 points twice in the waning minutes of the game, but each time the Cougars had an answer.
Playing in her final regular-season game, Paige Bateman scored a season high 11 points, including a pair of key treys during the Cougars’ monstrous first half run that blew the game open. Her pair of bombs book ended a mini 8-0 run that pushed the Cougar lead from 11 (31-20) to 19 (39-20) with 2:16 to play in the first half.
Westmont, which handed the Cougars a 62-46 loss in Azusa in January, began to turn up the defensive pressure in the second half and worked its way to within 3 on 2 different occasions. The Cougars led by 11 (59-48) with 6:51 to play when they began to unravel, turning the ball over 7 times over the next 11 possessions.
The Warriors took advantage and climbed to within 3 (66-63) with 2:19 to play, however, West hit a clutch jumper to push the margin back up to 5. Two Westmont trips to the charity stripe, sandwiched around a Cougar turnover, resulted in just 1-of-2 makes each time, and the lead was back down to 3 (68-65) with 1:15 to play. Westmont had a chance to get even closer after a Cougar foul with 37 seconds remaining, but the Warriors missed the front-end of the 1-and-1 situation, and the Cougars grabbed the rebound and hit 5-of-7 free throws down the stretch to put the game out of reach.
Sophomore Kelsey Hudson finished with a team-high 16 points and 9 rebounds. She hit 6-of-8 shots from the floor and 4-of-5 from the line. Candis Regan finished with 13 points and 6 assists off the bench.
With the win, Azusa Pacific improves to 11-20 overall, 9-11 GSAC. Westmont falls to