Westmont College’s basketball victory over NAIA finalist Carroll College was a literal gut check: The Warriors had to pull out the win while its star player, Cade Roth, was undergoing an appendectomy.
The Warriors extended their season-opening win streak to eight games with a 73-69 win over the Montana School on a neutral court at Fullerton’s Hope International University.
“I think he was on the operating table as our game was ending,” Westmont coach John Moore said.
Roth, a 6-foot-5 sophomore, averages a team-best 7.9 rebounds per game while scoring at a 13.7-point clip. He shoots nearly 60% from the three-point line.
Moore learned that Roth was ailing shortly before they were to leave for Fullerton.
“He said, ‘I just went to my anatomy class and I found out from my teacher that I may have appendicitis,’” the veteran coach said during Monday’s Athletic Round Table press luncheon. “So we rushed him to the health center, he rushes to the hospital, and over the course of the next eight hours he gets this appendix out.”
Moore said he told Carroll College’s assistant coach of the turn of events after their arrival in Fullerton.
“Of course, he goes to his head coach and tells him Cade Roth is not there,” he said. “And, as often happens, the team maybe let’s down a little bit, and we ended up winning the game by four points.”
The 8-0 start is Westmont’s best since the 1983-84 team opened with 18 straight wins. That streak will get tested in the Warriors’ trip to Arizona this week to open Golden State Athletic Conference play. They’ll face Ottawa on Thursday and Arizona Christian, the NAIA’s 10-ranked team, on Saturday.
“I really do like this team,” Moore said. “We’ve got lots of new guys.
“As I said earlier in the year, I was cautiously pessimistic about this team. I’m kind of turning the corner on that. I’m cautiously optimistic about this team. It is a fun team to watch.”
GAUCHO FRESHMAN HONORED
UCSB’s Ila Lane, a 6-foot-4 freshman, was named Big West Conference Player of the Week after making the Reno Nugget Classic’s All-Tournament team.
The Gauchos went 2-1 on the week. They beat San Diego State 64-52 in a nonleague game and then split its two contests at the Nugget Classic, losing to Stephen F. Austin 67-56 and beating Chicago State 96-65.
Lane had 17 points and 12 rebounds against the Aztecs, 11 points and nine rebounds against Stephen F. Austin, and 20 points and 10 rebounds against Chicago State.
“Ila has suction cups for hands,” Gaucho coach Bonnie Henrickson said. “We have four freshmen who are incredibly impactful. We started the year with two starters out for the year redshirting, an ACL and a foot surgery, and Illa has filled into that post position quite nicely.
“Vertically, she tests three inches above the rim. Her buddy, the other freshman from Boise (Nyalam Thabach), tests three inches above the rim. So we look like a basketball team now.”
Lane is averaging 15.8 points and 12.0 rebounds per game. Junior guard Danae Miller leads UCSB (4-4) with a 17.1-point average.
“We’ve asked Danae to do more,” Henrickson said. “We’ve been able to move her off the point guard position because of Johnni Gonzalez, a freshman from Kansas City — she’s come in and done a really good job.
“We’re playing all of our freshmen.”
UCSB’s 4-4 start includes a victory over USC.
“Come see us,” Henrickson said, promoting the Gauchos’ Thursday home game against Pacific. “We’re right down the road, and it’s fun. It’s a style you’ll love.
“We scored 96 points last night. It had taken us four games to score 90 (in the past).”