RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- California Baptist University came out focused and determined Saturday night, as the PacWest’s fifth-place Lancers defeated Azusa Pacific 54-46—the second conference loss for the league’s top squad.
The Lancers improve to 11-10 overall, 9-6 in the PacWest, while the Cougars fall to 14-6, 12-2 in conference.
A balanced attack led CBU as no Lancer finished the night with scores in double figures. Cassidy Mihalko was just on the cusp of double-digits, ending the night with nine points (3-for-7). Olivia Weber (4-for-11) and Jasmine Sauser (2-for-6) followed with eight points each.
"It was a real team effort tonight, everyone contributed," said head coach Jarrod Olson. "Our scout team was great all week in practice and they prepared us well for our opponent. It was nice to see Chanel [Cambronero] give us a spark in the second half and I was especially proud of Cassidy showing real toughness in making key shots in the second half after a tough start. Olivia and Elise also did a nice job rebounding."
Off the boards, Weber grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds, five of which provided the Lancers with a second chance on offense. Elise Shelton added 10 snags off the glass.
Neither team opened the first five minutes with a strong offense, each shooting under 15-percent. CBU continued to make shots hard for the Cougars, but found a rhythm on offense.
Shelton scored back-to-back layups to give CBU a six-point cushion and Erin Asher extended the run with a jumper to put the Lancers in front 12-4.
The Cougars tried to contain the Lancers, but Sauser sent a three rattling through the hoop to give her squad its largest lead of the half at 25-12. APU managed to cut it back into single digits briefly, but Weber scored the last basket of the half to give the Lancers the 27-17 upper hand at the break.
APU came out looking to steal some momentum from CBU, opening the first drive of the second half with a 5-0 run to trail 27-22. The Lancers stole back the momentum, jumping in front by double-digits (37-26) as Kamille Diaz was dished a leading pass from Chanel Cambronero for a fast break opportunity.
After the Cougars found the basket to cut the lead to seven, Diaz and Mihalko sent back-to-back threes through the rim to give CBU a 43-30 margin with just over 10 minutes remaining.
Heading down the stretch with a six-point lead, CBU opened it back up off a three from Mihalko. Despite APU’s efforts to foul back into the game, the Lancers connected crucial chances at the charity stripe to walk away victorious at 54-46.
The Lancers host three Hawaii teams to conclude their home season, first hosting new challenger Chaminade on Thursday at 5:00 p.m.