COSTA MESA — After just 99 seconds, Russ Davis had seen enough. And when the Vanguard University women's basketball coach witnessed still more dominance on the offensive glass by visiting Point Loma Nazarene on Tuesday after his timeout tirade followed the Sea Lions' five-shot opening possession, he decided pride was not too big a sacrifice to make.
"I went to them begging," Davis said after his team pulled away in the second half for a 70-54 Golden State Athletic Conference victory that keeps the No. 6-ranked Lions (5-2, 3-0 in the GSAC) tied with The Master's atop the conference standings. "I said 'Now, I'm not asking, I'm begging you,' " Davis said of his plea for his players to rebound more effectively. "I guess that works, so I should beg before the game."
Point Loma (3-3, 1-2) had four offensive rebounds on its opening possession and 14 at halftime, when it held a 23-14 rebounding edge. But Vanguard posted a 21-20 advantage on the glass after intermission.
When the Lions started limiting the visitors to one shot, Point Loma shots fell far less frequently. The Sea Lions, who had beaten the Lions in five of their eight most-recent meetings coming in, shot just 25% in the final 20 minutes.
After Point Loma claimed its final lead at 45-44 with 15:19 left in the game, Vanguard sophomore guard Veronica Beavor triggered a 7-0 Lions run with a three-pointer that wrested the lead for good.
Beavor, who came in averaging 11.8 points per game, scored 21 to pace the winners. She hit four of six three-point attempts and finished six of 10 from the field.
The 5-foot-5 Costa Mesa resident who prepped at Orange Lutheran High added five rebounds. She was also five of six from the free-throw line, where Vanguard netted 16 of 18.
Point Loma made just four of 10 foul shots and committed 14 turnovers to Vanguard's 10.
"Point Loma is definitely one of our top teams we want to beat," said Beavor, who grew up four minutes from the Vanguard gym. "This is my third year [she redshirted during the 2008-09 season] and we've lost to them twice [both visits the last two years to San Diego]. To me, that's unacceptable and that's unacceptable to this program."
Three players produced 32 of the Sea Lions' 36 first-half points, led by stout 6-1 junior Kaitlyn Trotter, who had 13 at the break. Trotter maintained her production after halftime, but guards Kiley Berlinski and Crissa Jackson, who combined for 19 first-half points, managed just three between them in the second half.
Trotter finished with 25 points and 17 rebounds. She accounted for all but one Point Loma field goal in the final 19:39 as Vanguard upped its lead to as many as 16.
Allison Burns, a 5-11 sophomore, chipped in 10 points and eight rebounds in 25 minutes off the bench, while sophomore Chelsea Alfafara (nine points) and freshman Taylor Belmont (seven) were additional reserves who earned praise from Davis.
"Our bench stepped up," said Davis, who saw junior scoring leader Ariel Castillo foul out with six points in 10 minutes. "[Beavor] had another great game, making some big shots for us."
Beavor's three-pointer with 7:21 left in the first half capped a 9-0 Lions burst that included three three-pointers within a 58-second span to turn a 22-16 deficit into a three-point lead.
The score was tied seven times and there were five lead changes, but none after Beavor's third three ball put the Lions up for good, 47-45, with 15:01 left.
"It was tough," Beavor said. "We worked really hard in practice on boxing out. Sometimes it kind of goes out of our minds for a second, but Point Loma definitely pointed it out. So, when the game started getting close, we said, 'This is not OK,' and we locked it up."
Golden State Athletic Conference
Vanguard 70, Point Loma Nazarene 54
PLN – Trotter 25. Campbell 0, Berlinski 13, Jackson 9, Rhoads 2, Boorman 3, Hill 2.
3-pt. goals – Berlinski 3, Jackson 3.
Fouled out – Jackson.
Technicals – None.
VU – Pfohl 8, Biteye 2, Beavor 21, Castillo 6, Boyd 5, Burns 10, Alfafara 9, Belmont 7, M. Spikes 2.
3-pt. goals – Beavor 4, Castillo 2, Alfafara 2, Boyd 1, Belmont 1.
Fouled out – Castillo.
Halftime – VU, 41-36.