Colleges: Advice proves golden

December 11, 2012|By Barry Faulkner
  • Coach Russ Davis has guided the Vanguard University women's basketball team to a 5-0 start.
Coach Russ Davis has guided the Vanguard University women's… (KEVIN CHANG, Daily…)

Russ Davis said he didn't want to name drop after his Vanguard University women's basketball team earned an impressive victory over visiting Westminster College of Utah on Saturday. But he went ahead and did so, nonetheless.

"I have to give an assist to my friend Geno Auriemma," Davis said after his No. 3-ranked Lions spanked the No. 4-ranked Griffins, 73-51, with what he called his 5-0 team's best performance of the young season. "We went to dinner [Friday] night."

Davis explained that Auriemma, who has guided the Connecticut women to seven NCAA titles and coached the U.S. women's Olympic team to a gold medal at the London Olympics last summer, was telling Davis about the Huskies' victory on Thursday and theorizing that he may be giving his Huskies players too much to think about.

"He talked about going back to what they're good at," said Davis, who applied the same bit of advice to his own team for Saturday's showdown.


"We played 21 [Davis' preferred one-two-two zone defense that has been a big part of his 421 victories in his 17 seasons at the Lions' helm] a lot more today than we have," Davis said. "We've been playing 2-3 zone. But [Auriemma] made me think and I told him that I might be doing a little more, too."

When things worked out, Davis vowed to call Auriemma to express his gratitude.


Davis has much to be thankful for, including the arrival of University of San Diego transfer Nicole Ballestero and the return of first-team All-GSAC post Esther Timmermans.

Ballestero and Timmermans led the way Saturday, scoring 25 and 22, respectively. Timmermans, a 6-foot-2 senior native of Australia, added 15 rebounds and made nine of 16 field-goal tries to help the Lions shoot 49.1% from the field.

Ballestero, a 5-8 junior guard, leads the team at 20.2 points per game, followed by Timmermans (13.6) and senior guard Chelsea Alfafara (10.6). Alfafara played her freshman season at Orange Coast College.

The Lions are beating teams by an average of 26.4 points thus far and remained in the No. 3 national ranking in the NAIA top 25 released Tuesday. Vanguard has been nationally ranked for 123 consecutive NAIA Division I polls.

Westminster (8-2) slipped to No. 5, while Vanguard's Golden State Athletic Conference rival, Westmont (7-1), featuring returning NAIA Player of the Year Tugce Canitez who represented Turkey in the London Olympics, moved up one spot to No. 4.

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