The Westcliff University women’s basketball team had dropped four straight regular-season contests coming into Sunday’s meeting with Pacific Union College at Santiago Canyon College in Orange.
The Warriors booted the monkey off their back in impressive fashion Sunday, riding headlining performances from Lauren Davis and Tiffany Lucci, and relying on the work ethic of Simone Hall and Mia Jones in a resounding 81-53 win.
And, oh, by the way, Mary Dishoian – emphasis on the Dish – is back – Westcliff’s senior captain ran point expertly, handing out a game-high five assists.
The Warriors had 18 dimes as a squad.
“It was good,” Westcliff head coach Kyle Rouse said. “It was nice to put them away early. I was a little disappointed, we kind of relaxed in the third quarter, and (PUC) made a little run. We can’t relax. But I was happy we ran it back up in the fourth.”
There were a couple of factors that kept the game from really getting out of hand. First off, the Warriors were uncharacteristically inaccurate at the stripe, shooting just 10-of-18. Second, Westcliff’s season-long turnover woes continued – rack up 20 more.
But those are simply the coaching notes in an otherwise beautiful performance.
“We’re happy to get the win,” Rouse said. “We’ll take it. It’s nice to get the monkey off your back, and now with another one tomorrow, we should have a good, positive vibe going in.”
Westcliff heads back out on the road Monday for Hope’s tournament in Fullerton, where the Warriors will look to make it back-to-back dubs against Cal Maritime.
If that’s to be the case, then it will no doubt be in no small part because the stars of Sunday’s contest kept up their impressive play.
Davis went Davis Sunday, turning in a game-high 27 points to complement five boards, five steals and a pair of dimes.
Meanwhile, Lucci went nuts from beyond the arc, hitting three straight triples at one point and finishing with 14 on 4-of-8 shooting from range.
But Davis and Lucci are the names you know.
Let’s talk about Hall, Jones and Dishoian, the names you need to know.
Hall is Westcliff’s hardest worker, she rarely leaves the court because Rouse trusts her, and she’s the type of selfless player willing to fill out the sheet in other ways besides scoring.
Sunday, Hall had five points, four rebounds, two assists and a steal.
“The last three weeks, she’s been phenomenal,” Rouse said. “She’s been our workhorse in practice. She’s been amazing. And we’re still missing some of her, not in terms of work ethic, but she can score. She’s physical, she can take you off the dribble, and even hit some threes. So there’s still some things she can do that will surprise some people going forward.”
Jones, a talented on-ball defender, was a question mark academically early on, but once Rouse got the green light, Jones was inserted into the starting lineup without a second-thought.
Jones (six rebounds, two steals) leads by example with her lock-down D, but she’s not afraid to lead vocally either, and that’s exactly the type of leadership Rouse expects.
“We keep stats at practice, and Mia is consistently in the Top 3 among guards,” Rouse said. “She’s a senior, and you can tell. She talks, and we encourage that. We want people out there who can defend, communicate and execute, and she does all three.”
Then there’s Dishoian, who missed a large chunk of time early in the season with an illness. Maya Armenta (seven points), a talented point in her own right, held down the fort, but Dishoian is a senior captain, and her absence was felt.
With Dishoian back in the fold and leading from the one, Westcliff finally has all its pieces back in place.
“This is (Dishoian’s) fourth year, and she gets it,” Rouse said. “She has a good basketball IQ, so it’s nice to have her back. But again, like Simone, I think she still has more to offer that we’re just waiting on. She was texting me yesterday to watch film, so she just wants to get it done.”
Andrece Tate had an exceptional Sunday afternoon for the Warriors as well, turning in 10 points on 2-of-3 shooting from three.
Tip at Hope is scheduled for 3 p.m.
To contact Brandon Petersen, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.