COSTA MESA, Calif. – No. 1 Vanguard donned pink to support the fight against breast cancer on Tuesday evening against its Golden State Athletic Conference rival, Westmont, and in the end the act of solidarity served two purposes, as the Lions came together to defeat the No. 10 Warriors 68-56. Sophomore Samantha Doucette led all players with 18 points as she shot 8-for-13 on the night.
With the win Vanguard moves to 20-0 overall and 9-0 in GSAC play. Westmont drops to 15-7 (6-3 GSAC) with the loss.
Vanguard scored at will, predominantly in the paint, in the first four minutes of Tuesday's match-up to take a quick 13-4 lead over the Warriors.
Westmont battled back, however, to claim its first advantage (29-26) at the 2:26 mark, but could not hold the lead and the Warriors did not score again as The Pride went on a 7-0 run to secure a 33-29 edge at the break.
Senior Nicole Ballestero (Orange, Calif.) and Doucette spurred the Lions in the first with 11 and 10 points, respectively, while senior Taylor Belmont (Oregon City, Ore.) added 8 to Vanguard's tally in the opening period.
Westmont's Kelsie Sampson, the GSAC Player of the Week, posted 9 points and 8 rebounds in the half. Her teammate Lauren Sende also grabbed 8 off of the glass for the Warriors.
Westmont put forth a strong offensive rebounding effort to open the second but could not find an answer for Vanguard's multi-option offensive attack as the Lions maintained a lead throughout the game, despite being out-rebounded 47-39 on the night.
Junior Melissa Norman (Elk Grove, Calif.) was tenacious and physical in the second, both on the glass and down low, as she finished contested shots and compiled six important second half points to finish with 8 points and 5 rebounds in 14 total minutes on the court.
Junior Ashleigh Anderson (Oregon City, Ore.) amassed 12 boards, 6 assists and 5 points in the win, while Belmont finished with 15 points, 7 assists and 7 rebounds.
Ballestero played the entire contest and scored 17 points.
Westmont was led by Sampson's 16-point, 14-rebound double-double.
Vanguard takes a short break before returning to The Pit on Thursday, February 13 for a 7:30pm contest with the ACU Firestorm.