In its final game of the regular season on Saturday, Azusa Pacific defeated Point Loma by a score of 79-66, to clinch the PacWest Southern California Pod title outright.
The Cougars had all five starters finish in double digits in points for the second night in a row, led by Kelly Heimburger’s 22 points and seven rebounds. Alex Lowden had her second straight double-double by tallying a season-high of 14 rebounds to go along with 11 points.
Paige Uyehara followed up her 25-point performance on Friday by totaling 19 points and four assists on Saturday. Molly Whitmore and Laura Pranger were the final two Cougar starters in double-digits, scoring 11 and 12 points respectively.
Azusa Pacific played great defensive basketball right out of the gates, holding Point Loma to just nine points on 4-of-15 shooting from the field (0-for-7 from deep) in the first quarter. The Cougars had the lead at the end of the first quarter with a score of 19-9. After a dominant first quarter, the Sea Lions stuck around in the game due to a concentrated effort to attack offensively and force their way to the free-throw line.
Point Loma shot 18 free throws in the second quarter, converting 16 of its opportunities. Point Loma’s Haylee Saurette led the charge in drawing fouls from the Cougars, as she went 7-for-8 from the line in the period.
At the end of a competitive back-and-forth second quarter, Azusa Pacific led going into the half leading by a score of 44-32.
Uyehara led the Cougars in scoring in the first half by scoring 11 of her 19 on the night.
The Cougars continued to get the ball into the paint in the third quarter, scoring 14 of their 21 points from inside the lane. Azusa Pacific’s lead was extended once again following the third quarter, as it outscored the Sea Lions by a 21-16 margin. The Cougars outscored the Sea Lions in every quarter except for the fourth. Going into that fourth quarter the Sea Lions looked to cut into the Cougars’ 17-point lead.
With 8:56 left in the game, the Cougars extended their lead to 19 on a Kelly Heimburger three-pointer. However, the Sea Lions did not fold by any means. With 3:04 left in the game, the Sea Lions had cut into the lead and were within striking distance as they faced a 73-63 deficit. That would turn out to be the closest as the visitors would get for the remainder of the game. A driving layup followed by Lowden followed by a pull-up jumper by Laura Pranger on the ensuing possession would break Point Loma’s momentum and ultimately secure the Pod title.
The Cougars outshot the Sea Lions in every capacity. Azusa Pacific was 29-for-66 (44%) from the field, 8-for-24 (33%) from three, and 13- for-14 (93%) from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, Point Loma shot 19-for-74 (26%) from the field, 4-for-32 (13%) from beyond the arc, and 24-for-32 (75%) from the free-throw line.
The Cougars now await the possibility of gaining entrance to the NCAA West Region Tournament. The field for the Regional will be announced on March 9.
— Courtesy APU Athletics