IRVINE, Calif. – No. 1 Vanguard got more points (25) from senior Leigha Bednar (Keller, Texas) than she played minutes (23) and 30 points from senior Nicole Ballestero (Orange, Calif.) as it defeated Concordia 93-72 in Golden State Athletic Conference women's basketball action on Tuesday night.
The Pride, at 22-0 (11-0 GSAC), is the lone unbeaten NAIA Division I women's team in the country.
Bednar hit all four of her shots in the first five minutes as Vanguard picked apart Concordia's defense en route to an early 18-9 lead.
Concordia had other ideas and battled back to come within five (30-25) at 8:40, but the game was not competitive for long as the Lions extended the margin to double-digits three minutes later and maintained a 46-36 edge at the break.
The Eagles had no answer for Bednar's outside game as she rattled off 15 first half points on 7-for-9 shooting. Ballestero chipped in 14 for The Pride, while senior Taylor Belmont (Oregon City, Ore.) dished out 7 assists.
Junior Ashleigh Anderson (Oregon City, Ore.) repaid Belmont's generosity early in the second, finding the Lions' point guard hiding below the Eagles' zone to put the Blue and Gold up 12 right out of the gate.
Belmont finished another on the break two possessions later, fearlessly taking the ball up and under Concordia's 6-4 post player, Ashley Ellis, to score her eighth point of the evening.
Bednar continued to produce in the second as her baseline jumper gave Vanguard a 19-point advantage at the 16:52 mark.
Belmont, the GSAC Player of the Week, secured her eighth double-double of the season at 6:14 when she found Anderson behind the arc on the left wing to give Vanguard its largest lead of the contest (83-55).
Anderson finished with 13 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists and a steal while Belmont's double-double featured 12 points, 13 assists, 2 steals and a team-high 6 boards.
Anderson went 4-of-5 from 3-point range, while Bednar shot, literally shot, 12-for-15 in the game.
The Lions travel to Hope International on Saturday for a 5:30pm competition with the No. 14 Royals.