The Azusa Pacific women’s basketball team dominated every part of the game Thursday, Feb. 13, but it was the inside work, balanced scoring and defense that barreled the Cougars through to the final score of 76-40.
The Cougars started the game down 10-4 with slightly more than three minutes past. This was the last time the Seasiders scored for the 10 minutes as APU successfully closed out the shooters and made it difficult for the Seasiders to hit anything but the rim.
This span contained a 22-0 run for the Cougars as they continuously pounded the inside for the remainder of the physical game. They scored 40 points in the paint (20 of their 29 total baskets) compared with the Seasiders’ four (two of their 13 total baskets). The Seasiders were held to 23 percent shooting while the Cougars shot 43 percent from the field.
“We talked about establishing the inside,” head coach T.J. Hardeman said. “Everyone that was [in the paint] had a good game, but Annie [Frederickson] happened to do very well in there, Lauren [Gilster] did a good job of posting, Maggie [Dumphy] had a good game blocking shots down there—that’s something we want to continue to get better at, is establishing the inside, so it was a good start for that tonight.”
Senior forward Annie Frederickson scored a career-high 10 points, went five-of-six from the field and grabbed six rebounds. Junior forward Sendy Valles scored 13 points and also grabbed six boards along with four steals. No other Cougar hit double-digits in scoring — a testimony to the amount of balance displayed by the team.
“We knew everyone was going to be able to get in tonight and play, so we said, ‘Let’s make sure that there’s no drop-off in the energy,’” Hardeman said. “They did a great job hustling down the floor, looking for each other … and trying to make someone else look good. It was fun to be a part of and fun to see the girls be successful in what we practiced.”
Junior guard Katie Powell was the next highest scorer for the Cougars. She went four-of-five from the field for a total of nine points and also snatched two steals. The next three top scorers each scored eight points. Freshman center Maggie Dumphy added a game-high two blocks to her eight-point performance, junior guard Allison Greene dished out three assists to go with her eight points and junior guard Lisha Elsenbach scored eight, going six-of-eight from the charity stripe.
The Cougars’ well-rounded blowout tips off a four-game home stand that features two more games against schools from the Hawaiian Islands and ends with a matchup against Point Loma. With only five games remaining in the regular season, Hardeman said he is thankful for a streak of home games when chasing down the conference title.
“It’s huge to be able to be at home for a little bit,” Hardeman said. “Obviously, in our spot, every game is a huge game, so I thought there was a good opportunity for us to not come out and play hard and be thinking about something else, and we did a good job of not doing any of those and said, ‘We’re going to play hard, we’re going to not gauge our effort by the other team. It’s going to be gauged by what we do and how hard we play.‘”
Now holding a 13-2 record in the Pacific West Conference (15-4 overall), Azusa Pacific looks forward to their matchup on Saturday against the Hawai’I Pacific Sea Warriors (14-7, 10-5) at the Felix Event Center. Tip-off is at 6 p.m.