GEORGE FOX 61, POINT LOMA 50: Bruins Sink Sea Lions to Finish Sweep of D-II Foes

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AZUSA, Calif. – Hannah Munger scored 12 of her game-high 16 points in the second half and the George Fox University Bruins out-rebounded the Point Loma Nazarene University Sea Lions 46-30 en route to a 61-50 win Wednesday afternoon in the Azusa Pacific Women's Basketball Invitational Tournament here at APU's Felix Event Center.

Coupled with their 68-65 win over tournament host Azusa Pacific on Tuesday, the NCAA Division III Bruins completed a two-game sweep of their games against Division II competition this season.  George Fox, ranked 21st in the poll and 22nd in the USA Today / ESPN / Women's Basketball Coaches Association poll, improved to 7-2 with its seventh straight win, while Point Loma lost its third in a row and fell to 3-5.

The first half was closely contested, with five ties, eight lead changes, and no lead larger than four points for either team.  The Sea Lions shot .480 (12-25) in the first half, including a sizzling .533 (8-15) from three-point range, to only .270 (10-37) overall and .286 (2-7) from long distance for the Bruins, but could not pull away.  George Fox stayed close by forcing 12 PLNU turnovers while committing only six, and took advantage of 12 offensive rebounds to get 12 more shots than the Sea Lions.  The Bruins also hit 7-10 from the line while the Sea Lions did not go to the line at all.

The Bruins never led by more than two points in the opening period, leading by that many five times, the last at 28-26 with 2:19 left after two free throws by Megan Hays, who had 10 points in the half.  The Sea Lions led by four points three times, the last at 32-28 with a minute to go following a three-pointer by Savannah Erskine.  PLNU, which held a 32-29 halftime lead, was led by 12 points, all on threes, by Carlotta Kloppenburg and 10 by Callie Rhoads, but the Bruins tightened up on defense and allowed them only two points apiece in the second half.

Andrea Campbell, who had five blocked shots in the first half, including two on Munger, scored the first bucket of the second half to give PLNU its largest lead at 34-29 - and then Munger got going.  The Bruins' 6-5 All-American hit a short jumper that ignited an 8-2 run over a four-and-a-half minute span and capped it with two free throws to give George Fox a 37-36 lead with 14:57 left in the game.  After the Sea Lions regained the lead on a jumper by Campbell, Hays fed Munger inside for a layup to make it 39-38 with 14:16 to play, and the Bruins never trailed again.

A three by Hayley Cusick and a rebound basket by Sam McCloud extended the George Fox lead to 44-38, and the margin reached nine points at 48-39 with 9:40 left on a steal and layup by Justine Benner.  A three and a layup by Jill Haentges and a layup by Kloppenburg brought the Sea Lions back within two at 48-46 with eight minutes left, but that was PLNU's last gasp.  Munger hit two baskets and two free throws and Jami Roos added a three-pointer and a layup as the Bruins pulled away, out-scoring the Sea Lions 13-2 to build a 13-point lead of 61-48 when Cusick drained two free throws with 10 seconds left.  Campbell's bucket at the buzzer made it a final 11-point margin.

Joining Munger in the Bruins' double-digit scoring column were Hays with 12 points and Roos with 11.  Munger added eight rebounds and four steals, while Hays and Megan Arnoldy had seven boards each.  Cusick handed out four assists, and Roos made four steals, the Bruins making 15 swipes while forcing 25 Sea Lion turnovers.  With 18 offensive rebounds, the Bruins took 20 more shots than the Sea Lions.

Kloppenburg with 14 and Rhoads with 12 were the top scorers for PLNU, with Rhoads adding a team-high six rebounds.  Campbell had nine points and five blocks, and Renee Crawford made five assists. 

NEXT: George Fox returns home to open Northwest Conference play Saturday at 6:00 p.m. against Pacific University.  Live video and live stats will be provided, but due to the holiday break and students being gone, campus station KFOX radio will have no live webcast of the game ... Point Loma visits Fresno Pacific University on Jan. 2 for a 2:30 p.m. contest.