LAKE WALES, Fla. - Poor shooting and turnovers plagued Union College from the outset as No. 19 Westminster (Utah) College collected the 74-59 victory at the Holiday Inn Express Invitational Wednesday.
The loss dropped Union to 10-5 on the season, while Westminster improved to 11-4.
The invitational was held at Warner (Fla.) University.
The Lady Bulldogs struggled offensively the entire game, making just a third of their shots in going 16-for-48. While Union was bad in the paint, its shooting got worse further out as Union made only 2-of-17 (11.8 percent) from 3-point range.
On the flip side, Westminster connected on 27-of-54 shots from the field and went 14-for-19 (73.7 percent) from the free-throw line.
The Griffins took advantage of the 23 Lady Bulldog turnovers, cashing them in for 24 points. Westminster coughed the ball up 17 times, but Union netted only six points off of the opposition's miscues.
Brooke Smith (Pineville, Ky.) paced Union with 23 points to go along with her four rebounds and three blocked shots. Carley Blankenship (Lexington, Ky.) chipped in 11 points, but no other Lady Bulldog scored more than four points.
Westminster jumped out to the early lead, racing to a 13-2 advantage. However, Union regrouped and cut the margin to 13-10 but was never able to take the lead.
The Lady Bulldogs trailed 26-22 with nearly seven minutes left in the period. Yet, the Griffins closed out the half on a 17-2 rally to take a 43-24 lead at the break.
Union had ample opportunity to take charge in the opening half with Westminster committing 16 fouls and putting Union in the double bonus within the first nine minutes. But the Lady Bulldogs could not hit their free throws, making only 12-of-22 (54.5 percent) from the line in the first half. Additionally, Union struggled from the field as it hit just 5-of-23 shots (21.7 percent) and went 2-for-11 (18.2 percent) from behind the arc.
Conversely, Westminster hit 51.7 percent (15-of-29) of its shots in the opening period and connected on 5-of-14 shots (35.7 percent) from 3-point range. At the line, the Griffins nailed eight of their 10 tries.
For much of the second half, Westminster's lead hovered around the 20-point margin. After a Nicole Yazzie bucket, the Griffins led 57-33 with 13:12 to play.
The Lady Bulldogs slowing began to climb their way back. Using a 24-12 stretch, Union cut the deficit to 69-57 with 1:17 to play following a pair of Ashley Lunsford (Orlando, Fla.) free throws. However, the Lady Bulldogs could not cut any deeper into the deficit as they missed six layups and a 3-point attempt down the stretch as the Lady Griffins closed out the game on a 5-2 run to seal the 74-59 decision.
Keisha Catten paced Westminster with 24 points with Yazzie contributing 14 points. Dani Evans and Allie Eastman helped out with 11 and 10 points, respectively.
Union returns to action Jan. 6 when it pays Appalachian Athletic Conference rival Bluefield (Va.) College a visit. Game time is set for 5:30 p.m.