HONOLULU, Hawai’i-- The Azusa Pacific women’s basketball team kept pace in the Pacific West Conference race with an 82-76 win over Hawai’i Pacific on Saturday in Honolulu. The Cougars built up a 19 point lead late in the first half, and never relinquished their lead after Allison Greene hit a jumper in the opening minute to win their fourth straight game and improve to 11-1 in PacWest play.
Azusa Pacific (13-5), which trails Academy of Art (12-1) by just half a game in the conference standings, had four players score in double figures, with Greene’s 22-point effort helping the Cougars tab their second straight 80-point game.
Greene went 6-of-11 from the field, and shot 8-for-11 from the free throw line, while adding five assists and two steals. Kelly Hardeman logged a double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Sullivan Ziegler and Sendy Valles each finished with 11 points.
Lisha Elsenbach came off the bench to score eight points, and Maggie Dumphy continued to show off on the defensive end with four blocks. She also added nine points and five rebounds.
In the second half the Cougars led by as many as 14, but a six-minute 14-1 Hawai’i Pacific run nearly erased Azusa Pacific’s lead, cutting the Cougar advantage to 60-59 with 8:40 to play. Azusa Pacific, however, responded with a 13-3 spurt to go back ahead by 11.
Free throws from Hardeman and Greene pushed the Azusa Pacific edge to three points, and after a Dumphy jumper, Greene hit two more free throws to make it a seven point contest. After an HPU 3-pointer Ziegler made it a 70-62 game with a layup, and Hardeman buried a trey to give the Cougars a 73-62 lead.
Then, after Azusa Pacific held a 10 point advantage with 3:46 to play, HPU went on a 7-0 run with a triple and two layups to get within a possession with just under two minutes to play. Three straight Cougar free throws extended the lead to six points, and after trading free throws over the next minute, HPU cut the deficit to three points with 47 seconds to play.
That, however, was as close as Hawai’i Pacific would get as the Cougars nailed three additional free throws down the stretch to post an 82-76 win. The Cougars earned a 34-16 advantage in free throw attempts, burying 23 of those, while HPU went 13-of-16 from the stripe.
Azusa Pacific will close out its three game trip to Hawai’i on Monday night against Chaminade, looking to move into a tie for first against idle Academy of Art. The game is scheduled to tip at 5:00 (HAST).