|Cougars “Hall” Off On Mustangs|
Azusa Pacific’s Briana Hall snapped a 61-all tie with 8:10 left and the No. 8 Cougars went on to hand The Master’s College its third straight defeat, 81-75 Tuesday evening. The loss, the second in a row against an NAIA Top 25 team on the road, dropped the Mustangs (12-6 overall, 5-4 GSAC) into a tie for fifth-place with Westmont.
Hall’s jumper sparked a 7-0 burst that put the Cougars in front for good but the Mustangs didn’t go away that easy. They closed the deficit to 68-64 on an Erica Inge three-point play with 6:39 showing on the clock and crept even closer (75-72) when Inge drilled a three-pointer with 49 seconds remaining.
But, Hall stepped up again, hitting a clutch jumper that fueled a 6-0 spurt to put the game away. Inge put the final points on the board with another triple seconds before the buzzer sounded.
The Mustangs, who trailed the entire first half and for most of the second, claimed their first lead (51-50) of the evening on a Lindsey Levanen layup with 12:28 remaining. They never led by more than that and their final edge of the evening came at 59-58 when Ella Joines tossed in one from behind the arc. Inge tied the game for the last time at 61, converting a pair of free throws with 8:44 left, before Hall made the first of two big buckets.
Earlier, the Cougars raced to a 4-0 lead before Joines scored the Mustangs’ first points on a trifecta at the 18:10 mark. Hall, who finished with 18 points, duplicated that with a long bomb of her own and that triggered a 10-2 run that Hall capped off with another trey with 11:11 left in the opening period.
The Mustangs were never able to get closer than four points the rest of the half while APU built a 29-14 lead on the strength of a 9-0 run over a 2:05 span. But, as has been typical all season long, the Mustangs battled back, tearing off 11 straight points to close to 29-25 on an Inge layup with 2:31 left in the half. Theresa Brown’s three-point play fueled the run while Inge added the other eight points.
The Cougars answered back with a 7-0 spurt and took a 36-29 lead into intermission. After shooting just 34% from the field, the Mustangs were fortunate to be that close. Meanwhile, the Cougars converted at a 46% clip.
For the game, the Mustangs hit 38% of their attempts while the Cougars finished out at 48%.
Inge tallied a game-high 28 points, going 10-21 from the field and 5-5 from the line. She also added four assists. Lauren Labat (11) and Morgan Schwegler (10) were the only other Mustangs in double figures, combining for 21 points off the bench. Brown tallied nine points and snared a game-high 11 rebounds.
It doesn’t get much easier for the Mustangs who will attempt to snap their three-game losing streak against No. 12 Vanguard Saturday evening in Bross Gym. Tip-off is set for 5:30pm.