SANTA BARBARA, Calif. - Oklahoma City University dismantled Westmont (Calif.) 80-48 on Friday at Murchison Gymnasium in the GSAC Challenge in a clash of top 10-ranked teams in NAIA Division I women's basketball.
Kayla MacKenzie, a junior from Peoria, Ariz., topped the defending national champion Stars with 15 points. Eighth-ranked OCU improved to 7-2, while fourth-rated Westmont went to 8-2.
Lauren Gober, a senior from Newcastle, Okla., posted 14 points, six rebounds and three steals, while Desiree Jeffries, a senior from Oklahoma City, collected 12 points, five rebounds and two steals for the Stars.
Westmont committed 30 turnovers and managed 37.2 percent shooting from the field (16-of-43). OCU pocketed 16 steals while limiting itself to 12 turnovers of its own. The Stars created a 36-10 margin in points off turnovers and 40-12 advantage in points in the paint.
OCU held Westmont's Tugce Canitez to 10 points, 16 rebounds, two assists and two steals on 4-for-10 shooting from the floor. She registered seven turnovers before fouling out. Canitez, a 6-foot-2 senior from Izmir, Turkey, had set Westmont's single-game record with 43 points in her last outing Dec. 15 against William Jessup (Calif.). Canitez entered the game averaging 22.0 points a game to rank second in the NAIA in scoring.
"We played with great team chemistry and passion on both ends of the floor," OCU coach Latricia Trammell said. "I was very proud of our effort and determination."
Canitez had four points as Westmont built a 7-2 early lead. OCU erased its deficit with a 12-0 run. Jeffries contributed four points during that spurt as her jumper gave the Stars an 8-7 edge with 13:16 left in the first half.
MacKenzie's steal and breakaway bucket capped the run, providing OCU a 14-7 lead at the 10:36 mark.
The Stars increased their advantage to 32-11 with the aid of 17 unanswered points. OCU held Westmont without a point for 5:40. MacKenzie scored eight points during that time. She bookended the OCU surge with a jumper with 8:33 to go and tallied a lay-in with 2:53 remaining in the period.
Ravven Brown's jump shot put the Stars ahead 61-26 with 9:47 left in the game for OCU's biggest advantage of the game.