After defeating then No. 3 Westmont a fortnight ago, No. 17 Biola held newly-ranked No. 3 Vanguard to .254 percent shooting from the field while shooting 11-for-22 from 3-point range themselves to chase the Lions 71-47.
This is the first loss the 24-2 Lions have suffered in Golden State Athletic Conference play (12-1), while the win elevates Biola to its 20th win of the season and a 12-3 GSAC record.
"We came in knowing that Vanguard's undefeated GSAC record meant they were a very good team and we were really fired up to come away with a win," said senior guard Annie Park, who scored 15 points on .500 shooting. "We didn't underestimate their ability to comeback on us and wipe away our lead, so we tried to come into each quarter with the mentality that the score was 0-0 and our goal was to win the quarter."
After a bit of back-and-forth scoring to begin the game, Biola created a 12-point lead after the first ten minutes by ending the first period on a 15-2 run. The teams' respective percentages from three during the first would be a harbinger of things to come as Vanguard went 0-for-8 from deep while Biola went 5-for-6.
As the half progressed it became apparent that Vanguard was only finding three scoring options in Claire Lamunu, Jaime Goff and Christiana Gerostergiou since the rest of the team contributed two points in 18 shot attempts. In the meantime, all five of the Eagles starters were draining their open looks, scoring 37 points over the first twenty minutes on six three-pointers and .619 shooting.
Even with a 19-point advantage, the fifteen minute break between halves only seemed to strengthen the Eagles' resolve and resulted in the best quarter of the night for Biola. The Eagles held Vanguard below 10 points for the second time in the third quarter and posted a 23-8 advantage in points to take a 63-29 lead into the final 10 minutes.
Biola also continued its geneous distribution of points in third. Joclyn Kirton and DeMoria White led the way with six and five points, respectively, in the period. But as a unit the team kept their foot on the gas, pulling down 13 rebounds compared to the Lions' seven and drawing a 9-of-10 mark at the free throw line.
"I like the old saying, 'It is amazing what you can accomplish if you don't care who gets the credit' and our coaches are blessed to get to see this team live that out every day and particularly on both ends of the floor tonight," said Head Coach Alan Nakamura. "Vanguard is a team that deserves its No. 3 ranking because of its talent and coaching and it took a very spirited effort from our team to get this result tonight."
The Eagles post players had to use a large measure of their energy and spirit ensuring that the NAIA's second-leading scorer, Claire Lamunu, did not rack up big numbers of points in the third period. The Ugandan forward, who started play Tuesday with an average of 23.4 points-per-game, made one shot in only three attempts in the third and was held to just eight points in the first 30 minutes. She eventually finished with 20 after scoring 12 of Vanguard's 18 in the fourth.
Gerostergiou was the only other Lion to reach double figures with 12.
DeMoria White matched Lamunu with 20 as Biola's leading scorer, Joclyn Kirton scored at least 13 for the fourth-straight game and every Eagles starter finished with at least seven points.
This is the largest margin of victory in a conference game for Biola this season and lengthens its winning streak at home to 12 game in a row.
Following the time Biola needs to savor its second victory against a Top-3 team, the Eagles will turn their attention to the Hope International Royals. The two teams faceoff in Fullerton on Saturday at 7:30 p.m.