AZUSA, Calif. -- Ashley Baker’s 3-point play with just under a minute remaining gave Lewis-Clark State a 5-point lead that it would not surrender as the Warriors posted a 95-90 win over the NAIA’s No. 12-ranked Azusa Pacific, Friday, at the Cougar Thanksgiving Classic.
Baker was superb throughout the game scoring a game-high 34 points and grabbing 15 rebounds in leading Lewis-Clark State to its fifth straight win to begin the season. Jade Fulbright poured in 23 points on 8-for-15 shooting for the Warriors.
The Warriors shot 54 percent as they hurt the Cougars with effective dribble penetration that led to 54 points in the paint.
Suspect free throw shooting by the Warriors in the second half (9-for-17) left the door open for the Cougars charged from behind and got to within 2 at 90-88 but it simply set up Baker.
Azusa Pacific had another terrific offensive night with 5 players scoring in double-figures led by Crystal Jeanpierre and Monica Somers with 18 points apiece. Jeanpierre supplied instant offense off the bench as she shot 4-of-5 from behind the 3-point line keeping the Cougars close in the first half. Lindsey West tallied 17 points and 8 rebounds but had just 1 field goal in the second half.
“We haven’t had any trouble offensively this year it has all been on defense,” said head coach Danelle Liles. “Overall, we need to be on the same page. We might have 4 (players) out there that are doing what they are supposed to but if we have 1 that’s not it will break down.”
The game got off to a quick start as both teams looked to push the pace early on. The Cougars shot 58 percent in the first half but still found themselves trailing at halftime 51-49. Lewis-Clark State proved to be equally adept at running while Azusa Pacific hurt itself with 9 turnovers. The Cougars would finish with 17 miscues.
“I thought that even though Baker was missing some shots early on they still were able to get offensive rebounds and score which hurt us,” said Liles.
Trailing 16-12, the Warriors went on a 13-1 run to assume an 8 point lead. The Cougars climbed back into the game behind the shooting of Jeanpierre to take a 38-35 lead before a Fulbright 3 tied the game.
Baker added 2 lay-ins and Fulbright canned another triple to give the Warriors the lead going into the break.
In the second half it was more of the same from both as they prevented the Cougars from sustaining any long scoring runs. “Give them credit,” said Liles. “They played a good game against us.”
Azusa Pacific will continue play at the 2005 Cougar Thanksgiving Classic on Saturday when it plays host to New Mexico Highlands at 5 p.m. at the Felix Event Center.