COSTA MESA, Calif. – No. 1 Vanguard began the 2014 Golden State Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament with a 100–51 victory over eighth-seeded Arizona Christian in The Pit. The Lions, paced by sophomore Samantha Doucette's (Irvine, Calif.) 21 points, led the entire way.
Doucette, the youngest player on the 2014 All-GSAC squad, rattled off Vanguard's first six points and the Lions followed suit, clenching a 15-2 edge in a three-minute span to begin the game.
A 3-pointer from senior All-GSAC player Taylor Belmont (Oregon City, Ore.) and her pair of unbelievable dishes to classmate and GSAC Player of the Year, Nicole Ballestero (Orange, Calif.), on the next two possessions put The Pride up 22-4, while back-to-back downtown buckets from junior Ashleigh Anderson (Oregon City, Ore.) and Ballestero put Vanguard out front by 22 (28-6) at the 13:01 mark.
Freshman Ashley Land (Eugene, Ore.) subbed into the game with four minutes to play in the half and garnered a 47-19 advantage for the Blue and Gold five seconds later with a bullseye from behind the arc.
Land also scored the Lions' 50th point of the evening, as she grabbed an offense board and finished down low to register her fifth point in less than two minutes.
Vanguard retired into the locker room at halftime with a 54-21 lead intact.
Belmont and Doucette scored 13 apiece before the break, while Ballestero and Anderson notched 10 and 9 for The Pride, respectively.
The Firestorm were led by Stephanie Brimhall's six points.
Doucette and junior Melissa Norman (Elk Grove, Calif.) tallied eight of the Lions' first nine points in the second, as Vanguard extended its lead to 41 (69-28) in a six-minute span.
Vanguard hit the 70-point mark at 13:03 and sophomore Jordie Smith (Wilton, Calif.) quickly made it 73 as she sank her second bucket of the half.
Land nailed her third 3-pointer to go 3-for-3 from deep and 5-for-5 on the night to give the Lions 100 points in the final minute of the game. She finished the game with a career-best 13 points in 13 minutes of floor time.
Arizona Christian out-produced its first half offensive effort in the final twenty minutes, but The Pride was simply too much to handle as the Firestorm became the only team to fall victim to Vanguard three times in 2014.
Vanguard's winning streak extends to 26 games with the victory.
Arizona Christian's season ends with the loss. The Firestorm's final record stands at 5-24.
Belmont recorded a 19-point, 10-assist double-double for the Lions. She also grabbed five off of the glass and came up with four steals.
Doucette's eight rebounds were a game-high.
The Lions will host No. 17 Hope International on Friday, March 7 at 7:30pm in the GSAC Tournament Semifinals. Vanguard defeated the Royals twice in the regular season, but the final match-up between the two teams was decided by a single point (80-79).