COSTA MESA, Calif. – No. 1 Vanguard got double-figures from all five of its starters as it defeated No. 7 The Master's College 82-65 in Golden State Athletic Conference women's basketball action. Senior Nicole Ballestero (Orange, Calif.), the GSAC Player of the Week, led all players with 19 points.
Ballestero also hauled down seven rebounds in the contest.
With the win, the Blue and Gold stay perfect at 24-0 overall and 13-0 in GSAC play. No other NAIA Division I team, men's or women's, remains undefeated.
Vanguard put forth a balanced scoring effort in the first half as nearly every player who entered the game posted points for the Lions.
Senior Leigha Bednar (Keller, Texas), The Pride's streaky shooting center, scored seven-straight on three consecutive possessions to boost the Blue and Gold's advantage to 15 (37-22) at 6:35 which it maintained until the midway mark, taking a 42-27 lead into the locker room.
All five of the Lions' starters hit a 3-pointer, or two (Ashleigh Anderson) or three (Ballestero) and scored at least five points in the period.
Bednar and Ballestero led the way with 11 points apiece, while sophomore Samantha Doucette (Irvine, Calif.) managed seven of her own. Bednar also grabbed eight off the glass in her productive 17 minutes of floor time.
Anderson and senior Taylor Belmont (Oregon City, Ore.) served as the offense's facilitators, dishing six assists each before the break.
Vanguard extended the margin to 20 (53-33) in the second, as Belmont brought the ball down on the break and found Anderson open on the wing for a quick 3-pointer.
From there, Ballestero and Belmont scored eight unanswered for the Lions to bring the score to 61-33 before the Mustangs' Jacqueline Marshall answered with a short baseline jumper and Megan Lindsley cut it to 61-38 with a make from behind the arc.
With 3:37 remaining, TMC came within 20 points at 73-54 and in the final minute of the competition The Mustangs sank one last trey to cut the margin to 17 as time expired.
Belmont notched her tenth double-double (16 points, 11 assists) of the year, while Bednar finished one rebound shy of the feat with 13 points and 9 boards.
Doucette and Anderson recorded 15 and 11, respectively, to round out the double-digit scoring for the Lions. Anderson and Belmont also snagged five rebounds apiece in the win.
Junior Melissa Norman (Elk Grove, Calif.) compiled three blocks and six rebounds in 11 minutes of action.
Vanguard has one contest remaining in the regular season against San Diego Christian. The Lions will honor the 2014 senior class between games on Saturday, March 1st in The Pit. The women's contest will begin at 5:30pm.