RIVERSIDE, Calif. --- In its last home game, California Baptist University came out looking for the chance to keep Hawaii Pacific on its tail in the PacWest standings. The Lancers got what they were looking for with a 74-60 victory Monday night to stay in front of the Sea Warriors in the PacWest standings.
CBU improves to 14-10 on the season, 12-6 in conference. HPU drops to 14-9 overall and 10-7 in the PacWest with its third-straight defeat.
"I thought the girls played really well tonight, especially in the second half," said head coach Jarrod Olson. "Cassidy [Mihalko] and Chanel [Cambronero] got going from three, but it all started with good defense and passing."
Cassidy Mihalko led the Lancers with 22 points (7-for-12), followed by Jasmine Sauser and Chanel Cambronero. Sauser went 4-for-9 from the field to finish the night with 16 points and Cambronero shot 50-percent (4-for-8) to tally 12 points.
For the first 20 minutes, the two squads kept a pretty tight rope on each other with neither holding more than a six-point advantage over the other.
Each team exchanged three-pointers to open the contest, with the first points of the night coming from Mihalko. The Lancers tried to stay out in front, but found themselves trailing by five at 15-10 eight minutes in after surrendering an 8-0 run. Olson regrouped his team and they responded with an 8-2 run to take back the lead.
Holding just a one-point lead with under four minutes before halftime, Sauser sparked a 5-0 run to extend the lead into two possessions with a three-point play. The sophomore guard drew a foul as she laid the ball off the glass into the hoop and Erin Asher followed with a layup of her own after snagging a defensive rebound in the previous play.
"Sauser, Kamille [Diaz] and Erin really did a nice job of driving and finding shooters," said Olson.
The Sea Warriors forced CBU to take tough shots as the first half wound down, not allowing a Lancer bucket for the last two minutes. HPU came close to finishing a buzzer-beating shot right before halftime, but knocked it off the rim to put the score at 33-32, favoring the home team, at the break.
To start the second half, the Lancers keyed in on defense and grabbed four points off two forced turnovers to start on a good foot.
Despite CBU’s efforts to break away from HPU, the visitors kept the score tight, trailing by no more than six points for the first 10 minutes.
With 9:12 left to play, Mihalko drew a foul as she sank a shot from beyond the arc and finished the four-point play with a free threw right through the hoop. The rare play gave the Lancers momentum as they picked up their first double-digit lead at 56-46.
Less than two minutes later, Mihalko picked up another four-point play to give her team a 14-point cushion. The Lancers kept their distance from the Sea Warriors, holding a 66-52 advantage heading down the stretch.
CBU maintained possession of the ball by passing it around the perimeter, taking time off the clock in the process. HPU attempted to get back in the game, but the Lancers held strong on defense, forcing the Sea Warriors to take tough shots.
With 2:41 to play, Cambronero broke the 20-point barrier at 74-54 with a shot from beyond the arc off an assist from Kamille Diaz. The Lancers rode out the remaining time to walk away victorious at 74-60.
The Lancers close out the regular season on the road, but get a chance to rest up before heading south to Point Loma. CBU faces the Sea Lions on Feb. 26 at 5:30 p.m., getting a preview of the PacWest Championship Tournament site.