SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- There is no question that recent history shows Point Loma Nazarene has caused nothing but problems for Azusa Pacific.
In particular Golden Gymnasium has been a house of horrors for the Cougars, a place they have not won since 2002.
That trend continued Saturday night as the NAIA’s No. 24-ranked Sea Lions got 18 points from Mica DeHoog and held the No. 9-ranked Cougars to under 26 percent shooting the first half as they built a big lead en route to a 71-62 upset win.
The Sea Lions (10-4, 4-2) have had their way with the Cougars (13-4, 5-2) over the past several seasons having defeated them 7 straight times and that trend prevailed over Azusa Pacific’s winning streak that was snapped cold at 10 straight.
Most importantly, the win pulls the Sea Lions even with the Cougars in the loss column in Golden State Athletic Conference play. With the loss, Azusa Pacific now trails conference leader Vanguard by 2 full games.
“Overall we didn’t shoot well and we did not finish well either,” said head coach Danelle Liles. “I’ve felt like the last few games we haven’t shot the ball well and that caught up with us tonight.”
Indeed, during the first half the Cougars struggled to find their rhythm offensively as they were just 8-for-31 from the field. They took 13 attempts from 3-point range making only 4 but still managed to keep the game close until the first half began to wind down.
A back-and-forth contest became a 1-point game when Jaclyn Rice knocked down a 3 with 3:42 remaining in the half to bring Azusa Pacific within 24-23. At that point, Point Loma closed the half with an 11-3 run with DeHoog providing 6 of those points on lay-ups inside.
That spurt broke open the game and gave the Sea Lions a commanding 35-26 advantage. The second half opened with a Monica Somers jumper that cut the lead to 7 but the Cougars would get no closer the rest of the night.
While each team committed 22 turnovers, the Cougars could ill afford to make the miscues as they tried to rally from behind. “We couldn’t get back into the game because they capitalized on our turnovers and got a lot of second chance points off of offensive rebounds,” Liles added.
The Cougars relentlessly tried to climb back into the ballgame but at a crucial moment the Sea Lions wrestled away complete control. The sharp shooting Rice cut into the Point Loma lead with a long distance triple to make it a 44-36 game with plenty of time remaining in the ballgame.
However, Andi Honor answered with a trey of her own to trigger a 7-0 spurt that extended the lead to 51-36 and virtually put the game on ice for the home team.
Azusa Pacific had 3 players in double figures including Somers who scored a team-high 15 points. Sarah Leathers added 12 points while Rice had 11.
The loss is the first for the Cougars since they were defeated by Biola on Nov. 29. Now they will look to bounce back against San Diego Christian. Azusa Pacific hosts the Hawks next Tuesday night at the Felix Event Center at 5:30 p.m.