COSTA MESA, Calif. – No. 1 Vanguard hosted Biola in its 2014 Golden State Athletic Conference home opener on Saturday evening in The Pit. The Lions started slow but finished strong, defeating the Eagles 87-32 to move to 13-0 overall and 2-0 in league play.
Biola drops to 5-13 / 0-2 GSAC with the loss.
The Pride's offense stammered for the opening six minutes of Saturday's contest, going ice cold as it missed 14-straight shot attempts and found itself in a 6-3 hole before Ashleigh Anderson (Oregon City, Ore.) sank a 3-pointer to bring the game to even.
From there, Vanguard thawed and returned to its typical form, going on a 38-4 run courtesy of 14 points from sophomore Samantha Doucette (Irvine, Calif.), 12 from senior Nicole Ballestero (Orange, Calif.) and 11 from Anderson.
The Lions held Biola scoreless for over nine minutes between 9:59 and 00:51 in the first half. The Eagles posted three points from the free-throw line in the final minute of the period to move the score to 44-13 at the break.
Senior Taylor Belmont (Oregon City, Ore.) put together an excellent half for the Blue and Gold with 8 rebounds, 7 assists and 3 steals. Five of her boards were offensive.
Vanguard forced 17 Biola turnovers in the period and committed none of its own.
Belmont proved to be a scoring threat in the second, scoring four quick points on a drive and a pair of free throws to put the Lions up 52-13.
Back-to-back 3-pointers from Doucette and Ballestero secured a 66-20 Lions' advantage and gave Ballestero 21 points, one more than the Eagles' 20-point total.
Two possessions later Doucette accomplished the same feat, garnering 21 with a mid-range jump-shot.
The biggest achievement (perhaps of the season), however, came at 4:30 when Belmont grabbed one off of the glass to secure Vanguard's first triple-double of the year and the first of her career.
Belmont's trip-dub was completely untainted, as the point guard committed zero turnovers in 33 minutes of action.
Earlier in the week, Belmont notched a double-double at San Diego Christian. She has three double-doubles for the Lions in her senior campaign.
"I was really surprised when coach told me that I had a triple-double," Belmont said. "Being on this team is a blessing and I have to give the glory to God. I wouldn't be able to record the assists without teammates who consistently make shots. I was happy to have this game in front of our home crowd."
Anderson finished with 13 points, 7 rebounds and a game-high 4 steals. Belmont, Ballestero and Doucette each tallied 3 steals in the game.
Ballestero and Doucette scored 23 apiece on the night.
Defending national champion No. 12 Westmont is next for Vanguard. The Lions will travel to Santa Barbara on Tuesday for a 5:30pm match-up with the Warriors.