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Cougars Survive Shawnee State Run

March 16, 2012
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FRANKFORT, Ky. – (Box Score) Defending National Champion Azusa Pacific (Calif.) survives to play another round, as the Cougars held off Shawnee State (Ohio), 67-61, in the first game of second round action at the 2012 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com. The event is being held at the Frankfort Convention Center in Frankfort, Ky.

With the win, the Cougars, now 26-7 on the season, advance to the quarterfinal round for the third-straight season where they will play the winner of Oklahoma City/Westminster (Utah) at 2 p.m. EST on Saturday.

Trailing 59-49 with 3:37 remaining, Shawnee State’s Schera Sampson connected on a pair of free throws that sparked a 10-2 Bear run, cutting the Azusa Pacific lead to 61-59. Amanda Sheets scored seven of her 14 points during the stretch, including a 3-pointer from the top of the key.

The Bears immediately fouled Azusa Pacific’s Amber Williams on the ensuing possession, sending the two-time national Player of the Week to the free throw line for the eighth time in the contest. Williams connected on both attempts to push the Cougar’s lead back to four with 43 seconds left.

Another Bear basket brought the game back within two, but four consecutive free throws by Briana Hall of Azusa Pacific sealed the victory for the Cougars.

Hall, who scored 32 points in the Cougars first round victory against MidAmerica Nazarene (Kan.), led the Azusa Pacific attack with 19 points, nine assists and three steals. Williams posted her 23rd double-double of the year with 18 points and 16 rebounds and finished the contest 8-for-8 at the foul line.

As a team, Azusa Pacific shot 37.5 percent (24-of-64) from the floor and scored 19 points off Shawnee State turnovers. Both teams finished the game shooting at least 80 percent at the foul line.

The Bears were led in scoring by Sampson, who tied a season-high with 23 points, including 12 points in the first half. Abby Ballman (15) and Sheets (14) joined Sampson in double-figures for Shawnee State, as the Bears conclude their season with a 28-6 record.
NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship Bracket Announcement