The Cougars got the win over rival Biola to secure coveted points in the Cornerstone Cup

The Azusa Pacific Cougars came into this game riding a win streak that extended to Dec. 21, claiming victory in their last four contests. That feel-good attitude translated to the court on Saturday night as the Cougars defeated their rival, the Biola Eagles, 85-46. 

APU’s confidence was high as they fought Biola for points in the Cornerstone Cup. Battles, in any sport, between APU and Biola are always hard-fought with a bit of animosity, making this Saturday night meeting between the two schools that much more exciting. Not only was there a good atmosphere in the building at tip-off, but that positive atmosphere translated to the court very early on.

The Cougars came out of the gate red hot and buried Biola early. With all of the confidence and momentum, APU ended the first quarter with a 16-point lead, hitting seven of their 21 shots in the quarter. Defensively, the Cougars were just as powerful only allowing two points as the Eagles went one of 14 in the first frame of play. Biola missed all eight of their three-point attempts, struggling to find the basket.

“We have a lot of weapons. Zoe [March] has been doing great, Laura [Pranger] has been doing great, Sav [Hanson] too,” said Coach T.J. Hardeman. “It’s not so much ‘stop this person’ but rather it’s ‘stop APU’ which is a luxury for a coach.”

During the remainder of the first half, APU continued to make smart decisions with the ball and capitalize on their opportunities. Extending their lead to a massive 21-point advantage, the Cougars led 39-18 at halftime. 

Individually, junior Laura Pranger lit up the scoreboard, hitting all four of her shot attempts, including one three-pointer. Senior Zoe March also found the basket often scoring 10 points and hitting both of her three-point attempts. 

Going into the second half, the Cougars held a dominant lead, but knew they couldn’t get complacent about their performance if they wanted to exit the floor with the win. The Cougars showed no complacency going into the second half, extending their lead to 28 by the end of the third frame. 

“Staying together as a team and reminding ourselves to stay composed is a big thing especially in timeouts,” Pranger said.

Going into the final quarter, the game seemed all but over as the Cougars controlled both sides of the ball and Biola struggled to find a groove offensively, shooting just 20 percent from the field.

A huge factor in this battle was free throw shooting as the Cougars were not only able to get to the line often, but they were also very successful. The Cougars went 24 for 32 from the line, opposed to Biola scoring only 10 on 16 attempts.

The Cougars extended their win streak to five games. In those five games, the Cougars have outscored their opponents by an average margin of 25.4 points.

“It’s important not to take wins for granted” March said. “Wins are great, but we learn from every game. It’s about preparing for each team that we are about to face.”

The Cougars have been stellar as of late and are looking strong going into the final 12 games of the season. APU’s next game is against Notre Dame de Namur on Saturday, January 25 at 2:15 p.m in the Felix Event Center.