El Cajon, CA - After trailing through most of the first half and some of the second half, Hope International mounted a comeback and beat San Diego Christian 81-78 on Tuesday. With the win, Hope International remains one game up with one game to play to grab final host spot in next week's GSAC playoffs. Senior Andrina Rendon poured in 32 points while grabbing 11 rebounds- her 16th double-double of the season.
The Hawks (11-15, 2-11 GSAC) came out fired up on their Senior Night and buried two three pointers to build a 6-0 lead. After missing their first five shots, Junior Krystal Canning finally scored the first two points for the Royals (20-8, 8-5 GSAC).
However, SDCC continued to shoot well and went on to build a 12 point lead at 24-12 with 11:28 to play in the first half.
Rendon started the comeback by knocking down her first of five three pointers on the night.
The rest of the Royals started to hit shots as well and suddenly little-by-little HIU started to chip away at the lead.
Back-to-back baskets from Senior Shawna Staves produced the first two ties of the game.
With 91 seconds left to play in the first half, HIU finally grabbed their first lead of the night thanks a three pointer out of the hands of Junior Brittany Bauman. Junior Krystyn Jacobs gave Hope International a three point cushion with 51 seconds to play but the scoring edge turned out to be short lived.
San Diego Christian closed out the half with the final five points including a put back as the half expired.
The Hawks lead 42-40 at the break but Rendon was the leading scorer with 14 first half points. SDCC's Heather Serven produced 11 points in the opening 20 minutes.
Half number two started just like half number one as the Hawks connected on two three pointers to push their edge up to eight points.
An 8-0 run highlighted by four points from Jacobs tied the game at 48-48. The Jacobs' baskets set off a slew of ties and lead changes over the course of the next seven minutes.
At 7:32 left, Rendon made a pair of free throws to push HIU ahead 64-63. Despite never leading by more than six points and only being up by one on several more occasions, the Royals held on to the lead the remainder of the game.
Rendon cashed in her 18 second half points on the strength of 5-9 shooting from the field and 6-7 shooting at the charity stripe. Bauman contributed seven of her 12 points after the intermission while playing the entire 40 minutes of the game. Staves ended the game with 10 points. Junior Marissa Rendon shot a perfect 4-4 from the field in the second half to reach her total of nine points. M. Rendon also gave out a team high six assists.
For SDCC, Serven finished with 11 points in each half to reach her 22 point total. Gabriele Concepcion ended with 14 points.
With the win, the Royals held onto a one game lead over Biola for the final host spot. That said, depending how the last night of the regular season plays out, the tie breaks, and an HIU win, the Royals could potentially still move up a spot or two in the host rankings. The win also gave the HIU women their first 20-win season since the 2005-06 campaign. Two more wins before closing out their season would give the Royals their all-time program season high in wins breaking their record 21 wins set back in 1988-89.
Head Coach Bill Crammer said, "Tonight's win was a lesson in perseverance. Still tired from Saturday's game against Vanguard, we were a step slower defensively tonight and could not contain San Diego's guard penetration. As she has done so many times this year, Andrina loaded the team on her back and carried us offensively with 32 points and 11 rebounds. San Diego played a great game and we tip our hats to them as they pushed us to the limit. We are looking forward to our game Saturday at The Master's and the upcoming GSAC Conference tournament. Come out and watch us play."
On Saturday, the Royals will find themselves at The Master's in Santa Clarita to close out the regular season. The Hawks will end the regular season at Vanguard in Costa Mesa. Both games will tip-off at 5:30 pm.