SAN DIEGO, Calif. – Led by double-doubles in points and rebounds from Hannah Munger and Keisha Gordon, the George Fox University Bruins rang up their second straight win in the Surf 'n Slam Women's Basketball Classic 74-64 over the St. Mary's College (Ind.) Belles Tuesday afternoon here at Point Loma Nazarene University's Golden Gym.
George Fox, 13th in the latest WBCA NCAA D-III poll and 14th by D3hoops.com, improved to 8-2 overall with its fifth straight win. It was also the third win for the Bruins over the Belles in as many meetings, having previously defeated the team from Notre Dame, Ind., in tournaments in Hilo, Hawai'i, in 2001 and in San Antonio, Texas, in 2007. St. Mary's, which had a two-game winning streak snapped, fell to 7-3.
George Fox never trailed, and the game was tied only once, at 2-2. After the Bruins moved ahead on a three-pointer by Arianna Mohsenian and a layup by Hayley Cusick, the Belles climbed back within one at 7-6 with 17:35 left in the half following a basket by Patsy Mahoney and two free throws by Jessica Centa. The Bruins then took off on a 15-0 run over the next four minutes, Gordon nailing two three-pointers and a jumper to fuel the rally, for a 22-6 advantage with 13:42 left.
The Bruins kept a double-digit lead over the next seven minutes and were up 31-19 following a Munger layup with 6:41 to play. The Belles rallied at that point behind a long-range three and conventional three-point play by Mahoney that sparked a 10-0 run, cutting the George Fox lead to 31-29 with three minutes to go. Mohsenian halted the streak with a three for the Bruins, and they took a 36-31 lead into the half.
The first 10 minutes of the second half were mostly an exchange of points as the Bruins maintained their lead between three and nine points during that time. A three by Mohsenian with 9:01 left gave the Bruins a 10-point margin of 57-47, and the Belles got no closer than five points thereafter at 69-64 when Mahoney hit all three throws after being fouled on a three-point attempt with 37 seconds left. The Bruins were able to thwart any St. Mary's comeback by hitting 11 of 15 free throws in the final four-and-a-half minutes.
Free throws were what kept the Belles in the game as they hit 5-7 in the first half and 17-17 in the second half for a .917 percentage (22-24). The Bruins were only 12-20 from the line (.600), but held big edges in field goals (28-57, .491 to 20-54, .370 for St. Mary's) and three-pointers (6-19, .316 to 2-13, .154).
Munger led all scorers with 22 points and had 10 rebounds for the Bruins, her fourth double-double of the season and 15th of her two-year career, along with five blocked shots. Gordon had 17 points and 10 boards, her second double-double in as many days, third of the season, and fourth of her career. With 985 career points, she is only 15 away from becoming the 12th player in Bruin history to reach 1,000. Mohsenian added 16 points and Cusick 10. Carrie Myers came off the bench to contribute a career-high seven assists, and Cusick, Mohsenian, and Gordon each had three steals.
Kelley Murphy paced the Belles with 16 points, while Mahoney added 15 and Maggie Ronan 12. Liz Wade led St. Mary's on the glass with six boards, Annie Doyle handed out five assists, and Centa made four steals.
NEXT: George Fox has Wednesday off, then will play Thursday in the final round of the Surf 'n Slam Classic against an opponent still to be determined ... St. Mary's will play Fairleigh Dickinson University-Florham Wednesday at 5:00 p.m. ... George Fox, FDU-Florham, and St. Mary's constitute the "Surf" division of the Small College portion of the tournament (there is also an NCAA Division II tournament going on as well). In the "Slam" division, host Point Loma defeated Bethany Lutheran College Tuesday 72-47. Point Loma and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater were to play at 5:00 p.m. Tuesday, and Bethany Lutheran and UW-Whitewater play Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Teams from each division will be paired up for the finals on Thursday, based on each team's finish within its division, with the #3's at 2:00 p.m., the #2's at 4:00 p.m., and the #1's at 6:00 p.m.