SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – Junior guard Hayley Cusick connected on nine of 12 field goals en route to a career-high 19 points, leading the 20th-ranked George Fox University Bruins by the University of La Verne Leopards 73-47 Sunday afternoon in the Hampton Inn Women's Basketball Classic here at the University of California-Santa Cruz's West Field House.
Cusick also contributed team highs of six rebounds, four assists and three steals as the Bruins won their third in a row and improved to 3-2 on the season. It was not, however, the best-shooting night of her career; she set a George Fox record by going 7-of-7 from the floor in a game at Pacific University on Feb. 4, 2011.
Jami Roos was the only other Bruin in double figures with 13 points as the Bruins shot .516 (32-62) from the field. Megan Arnoldy also had six rebounds and Megan Hays and McKenzie Wolfe five apiece as the Bruins controlled the boards 46-27. Justine Brenner also had three steals, along with eight points off the bench. All-American center Hannah Munger, in her second game back from knee surgery, blocked five shots in only 10 minutes of action, extending her Bruin career record to 331 and moving her up two places into 18th on the all-time NCAA Division III list for blocks.
Tyne McClure was the only Leopard in double digits with 11 points, and she and Amanda Copas led the team with five rebounds each. La Verne, which fell to 2-3, was held to a .327 shooting percentage (17-52) and committed 22 turnovers to 17 for the Bruins.
George Fox never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 4-0 lead on baskets by Cusick and Roos. La Verne managed two ties, at 6-6 (all six on three goals by McClure) and 9-9 after an exchange of threes by Roos and Lindsey Foster, but buckets by Nicole Blizzard, Benner and Cusick put the Bruins ahead for good.
A layup by Munger gave the Bruins their first double-digit lead of 21-11 at the 8:40 mark, and they stretched it to as many 18 in the half at 33-15 on a layup by Hays with 3:29 left. The Bruins took a 36-23 lead into intermission.
The Leopards got no closer than 11 in the second half, cutting the margin to 45-34 on a layup by Emily Myers with 13:25 to go in the game, but an 11-0 run, capped by a Benner layup, made it 56-34 with eight minutes left, effectively sealing the win. The Bruins' largest lead was 31 at 73-42 following a three by Arnoldy with 1:45 to play.
NEXT: George Fox plays its home opener Tuesday at the Wheeler Sports Center's Miller Gym, taking on the Warner Pacific College Knights at 7:00 p.m. in a non-conference game ... La Verne hosts the Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Colleges Thursday at 7:30 p.m. in a Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference contest.