SANTA BARBARA, Calif.- Playing in what was the biggest game of their season thus far, the fifth ranked Vanguard University Lions (23-1, 11-0) faced off against the third ranked Westmont College Warriors (19-3, 9-2). This was an extremely rare occasion where the Pride played as the underdogs, and they certainly didn't allow this change in role to phase them. With the game tied 49-49 at the end of regulation, the Blue and Gold upset the warriors in overtime 64-57. Claire Lamunu (SR/Kampala, Uganda) rose to the occasion and earned her second consecutive double double, scoring 25 points and winning 11 rebounds.
Considering that the game was forced into OT, it's no surprise that the the game was tied eight times and the lead changed six times. However, it was the Warriors who will ultimately feel hard done by, having led in the game for nearly 34 minutes. In fact, the Warriors actually scored first, shooting a bucket after 20 seconds. Lamunu kept the Lions in the game with six points, but the Warriors took a six point lead going into the second period.
The second period of the game was essentially the same story. Kandyce Smith (JR/Monrovia, CA) was able to lighten the load on Lamunu, contributing with four points, but the Warriors maintained their six point lead. Home advantage definitely played a significant role in how the Warriors started, with the Pride unable to take the lead in the first half.
With Westmont's lead reduced to a single point at the end of the third period, the Lions finally found their footing in the fourth frame. Maya Kennedy (SR/Huntington Beach, CA) was able to tie the game up after a minute, before a three pointer from Christiana Gerostergiou (JR/Thessaloniki, Greece) gave the Blue and Gold their first lead after seven minutes. With ten seconds left on the clock, Smith kept her cool to convert a free throw and take the game into OT.
Taking their new-found momentum with them into OT, the Lions were always going to come out on top. Alyssa Durr (JR/Oregon City, OR) was subbed in shortly before overtime and made a significant impact, scoring two three pointers to help keep the Warriors at bay. Smith was able to continue her consistency from the free throw line, sinking two shots to defeat the Warriors once and for all.
Next Game: Saturday, February 11th against Hope International University at 5:30 p.m.