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Bobcats Ride Owen, Belvin in Win over Westcliff

By Brandon Petersen, 11/23/19, 12:15PM PST

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Turnovers weren’t the story for the Westcliff University women’s basketball team Friday night in a 75-54 home loss to UC Merced at Hope International University in Fullerton.

Neither was the defensive effort – the Warriors played perhaps their hardest 40 minutes of lock-down all season.

Instead, it was a lack of court awareness and attention to detail that came back to bite the Warriors Friday.

The scouting report said Haylee Owen was the Bobcats’ biggest scoring threat, and center Mia Belvin wasn’t to be ignored either.

By the end of the night, Owen and Belvin had combined to score 52 of UC Merced’s 75 points.

“We did some good things,” Westcliff head coach Kyle Rouse said. “The biggest thing today was we didn’t follow the scouting report. We were letting them do the things we talked about not letting them do.”

The insertion of Mia Jones into the starting lineup after an impressive performance against Hope last week brought a new intensity to the Warriors on the defensive end.

Time and again, Westcliff played so well on defense, UC Merced worked its possession to the final ticks. Unfortunately for the Warriors, time and again, the Bobcats drained buzzer-beaters.

Part of the problem came on the Warriors’ rotations. The key was to never let No. 2 get an open shot.

Owen ended up sinking 4-of-7 from the arc, all on wide-open or last-second attempts.

“We just have to get smarter,” Rouse said. “There were times where we were leaving (Owen) open, that’s the one person you can’t leave open. If you’ve got to scramble, great, but you’ve got to pick someone else to leave open.”

Belvin, meanwhile, ate the Warriors’ lunch on the offensive glass, bullying her way to a 31-point, nine-rebound night.

But it wasn’t all bad news for the Warriors, who cleaned up their turnovers impressively in the first half, committing just six. Inconsistency reared its ugly head however in the second, when Westcliff turned the ball over 13 times.

Simone Hall was fantastic, finishing with 15 points and six rebounds, while Lauren Davis was her usual dominant self, chipping in 14 points, handing out four assists, and hauling in 10 boards – four on the offensive end.

Tiffany Lucci (nine points, four rebounds) found her shooting stroke from range, draining a couple of triples, including an and-one for a four-point play.

Point guard Mary Dishioan had perhaps her best game of the season, diming thrice, collecting four boards and scoring eight.

Dishioan had missed time with an illness early in the season and looks like she is finding her footing. If Dishioan can continue to have nights like Friday, the Warriors will be much improved going forward.

Up next for Westcliff is another home tilt Sunday, this time at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.

Tip is scheduled for 1 p.m.

To contact Brandon Petersen, e-mail brandonpetersen@westcliff.edu.