AZUSA, Calif. – In the battle of size vs. speed, Biola casts its vote for size, and a clutch shot.
Rachel Dulin’s 3-point bucket with 5.6 seconds left lifted Biola to a 92-91 overtime victory over arch-rival Azusa Pacific in both team’s Golden State Athletic Conference opener at the Felix Event Center. It was Biola’s only lead of the extra frame after the Eagles had squandered a 13-point second half cushion.
Azusa Pacific forced the overtime when Sarah Leathers nailed a 24-foot nothing-but-net bomb as the regulation horn sounded, capping an improbable Cougar comeback the knotted the score at 81-81 to force overtime.
Throughout much of the game, Biola relied on 6-foot-6 Linda Ogugua and her game-high 27 points tallied under the basket and her 15 rebounds to offset Azusa Pacific’s fast breaks. However, Ogugua fouled out 37 seconds into overtime, and the Cougars took advantage, scoring the first 3 points to take its first lead since 7 minutes left in the first half. The Cougars built their lead to 5 at 90-85 following a pair of Alyssa Ferdaszewski free throws with 1:48 left.
Biola though would not give up, and Eagle Crystal Duncan made 2 free throws with 32 seconds left to set up Dulin’s heroics. On the inbound play, Azusa Pacific was whistled for a carry, giving the ball back to Biola. Duncan missed a jumper to tie the game with 7 seconds left but Megann Alberts got the rebound, outletting to Dulin, who punched her 3-pointer from the right wing for the game winner.
Biola led by as much as 13 in the second half, including a 67-54 advantage following an Alberts lay-up with 9 minutes left in regulation. However, Azusa Pacific’s full-court attack at the basket wore down a tired set of Eagles, and the Cougars rallied to within 2 at 80-78 following Ferdaszweski’s 3-point bomb with 1:38 remaining in the game. As Biola missed 3 of 4 free throws in the final 56 seconds, Azusa Pacific had 3 opportunities to force overtime, but the Cougars committed 2 turnovers and only Leathers’ amazing 3-pointer in front of 2 Eagles bailed out Azusa Pacific.
Dulin finished with 13 points and Alberts was the only other Biola player in double figures with 12 points. Ferdaszewski and Lindsey West led Azusa Pacific with 23 points.
Azusa Pacific opened the game with a furious pace in which both teams were on pace to score a combined 100 points in just 20 minutes of play. However, the fury took a toll on the players, and after 10 lead changes in the half Biola finally assumed a 43-38 halftime cushion after closing the frame with a 13-5 run. Ogugua scored 15 points in the half on 7-of-8 shooting. Meanwhile, the Cougars were ice cold from the arc, missing 12 of 14 bombs.
With the win, Biola improves to 1-2 on the season, 1-0 in the GSAC. Azusa Pacific moves to 3-3 on the season, 0-1 in the GSAC.