Humboldt State University Athletics Department:
AZUSA, Calif. – The No. 8 seed Humboldt State women’s basketball program continued to prove its doubters wrong as it upset top seed and host Azusa Pacific 66-60 Friday night in the Felix Event Center.
The win advances HSU to the semifinals of the NCAA West Region Tournament, and the North Coast squad will face off against Alaska Anchorage on Saturday night at 7:30 p.m. in Azusa. HSU notched its first regional victory since 2009-10 season versus UC San Diego, and the result improves the Lumberjacks to 3-5 all-time in regionals.
“Azusa Pacific is a very good ball team and the No. 1 seed for a reason,” said Lumberjack Head Coach Michelle Bento-Jackson. “We knew they were going to punch back and fight. We had to weather the storm and manage their runs and punch back just as soon as we could.”
After the Cougars took a 5-0 advantage, the Jacks countered and scored the next 17. HSU carried a 24-14 lead into the second quarter, but Azusa rallied and eventually took its first lead since the early moments at 34-32 with 1:17 left in the quarter. The home team had a 36-33 advantage at intermission.
The game remained tight to start the third quarter, and the Jacks tied the score at 47 on a Conde layup. The Cougars fought hard and took a 53-49 lead into the fourth.
HSU used a 10-0 run in the fourth quarter to take a 62-58 lead. Tyla Turner sank a pair of pivotal free throws with 1:09 left to go to give the Jacks some breathing room and a 64-60 edge. The home team continued to foul down the stretch, and HSU did enough from the charity stripe to earn the victory and send the Cougars home with their first back-to-back losses of the year.
Isamar Conde carried the Green and Gold, as she scored 22 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to lead the Jacks in both categories despite playing with four fouls late. Riann Thayer also had a double-double, scoring 11 and collecting 12 boards.
Madeline Hatch had all nine of her points in the fourth, all on three-pointers.
HSU won despite shooting just 30.4 percent from the field, but was huge on the offensive glass, outrebounding the Cougars 19-13.
The Jacks will take a 19-12 record into the West Region semifinals.
Bento-Jackson summed up the Jacks’ attitude heading into Saturday’s game against Alaska Anchorage by saying, “When you come in and beat the No. 1 team it’s easy to relax. I have to get the team mentally prepared for tomorrow. We didn’t come here to play one basketball game.”