Tough defense leads Oxy to rout

More news about: Occidental
By Michael Wells
Sports Information Director

LOS ANGELES — For the second game in a row, the Occidental College women's basketball team held its opponent without a bucket for a prolonged period to jumpstart an easy victory.

The Tigers (7-3) kept Emerson (4-8) scoreless for the first 5 minutes, 51 seconds of their non-conference matchup with the Lions on Wednesday, jumping out to a 13-0 lead, and cruising to a comfortable 72-51 win at Rush Gymnasium.

Elizabeth Messick (Reno, Nev.), who came into the game ranked fifth in the nation in blocks per game (3.86), swatted away two shots and picked up three steals during the stretch. The 6-foot-3-post player finished with eight points, 14 rebounds, seven blocks and four steals.

"(Messick) is such a force inside and really cleans up a lot of stuff for us down low," Occidental coach Anahit Aladzhanyan said. "I'm proud of the way our entire team has been playing, particularly at the defensive end of the floor."

In the Tigers' last outing they held Worcester St. to a drought that lasted nearly 12 minutes at the start of the second half.

Kristin Brice scored an and-one to finally get Emerson on the board with 14:09 remaining in the first half.

Makenzie Brandon (Seattle) scored a game-high 25 points, the fifth time she's scored at least 20 this season and third in a row. The senior forward had 20 by halftime and added 11 rebounds.

Marquisha Corley (Tucson, Ariz.) had 11 points and two steals and Michelle Naito-Lo (Monterey Park) and Liz Little (Littleton, Colo.) each added six.

Oxy forced the Lions into 25 turnovers.

Kelsey Johnson scored nine points and grabbed 17 rebounds to lead Emerson.

The Lions found most of their points from the foul line in the first half. Oxy got into the bonus early and cheap fouls contributed to eight points for Emerson at the line. Still the Tigers led 38-18 at the break.

In the second half the Tigers went deep into their bench, playing every suited player before the 10-minute mark.

Katelyn Rowe (Carlsbad) had six rebounds and four blocks in 12 minutes for the Tigers.

Oxy returns to SCIAC play on Saturday at Cal Lutheran (10-2, 3-1 SCIAC). Cal Lu ended Oxy's season early in 2011-12, beating the Tigers in the SCIAC Postseason Tournament Semifinal.

"These next couple of days will be really important for us to get ready for Cal Lu," Aladzhanyn said.