Westmont College, newly anointed as the No. 2 team for the NAIA National Women’s Basketball Championships, dominated the Golden State Athletic Conference awards announced this week.
Junior guard Stefanie Berberabe was named Player of the Year while Kirsten Moore was tabbed as Co-Coach of the Year with Hernando Planells of William Jessup.
Teammates Iyree Jarrett and Lauren Tsuneishi joined Berberabe on the All-GSAC team.
“What makes me so excited for this is how selfless all our players are, and how they’ll all be more excited for the other person,” Moore said. “Every year I say individual awards are team awards, and say more about how the team does than the individual player.
“If we don’t go undefeated in GSAC play, those players maybe don’t get honored regardless of how they do individually, so I think our whole team can take pride in these awards.”
Berberabe led Westmont and ranked third in the GSAC in scoring with an average of 15.3 points per game while shooting 52.3% from the floor. She also averaged 5.9 rebounds, 4.5 assists and 2.2 steals.
She received All-GSAC and NAIA All-America honors last year.
“Stef is such a quiet warrior until she steps on the court,” Moore said. “Her play does a lot of talking for her. She’s dynamic, she has grown in her confidence, and we’ve grown in our ability to utilize her and put her in situations to be successful.
“Her athleticism shines through, but bigger than that is her heart that’s just going to do anything it takes for her team to be successful.”
Tsuneishi, a three-time All-GSAC selection, averaged 12.1 points while shooting 39.3% from three-point distance with a league-best 35 makes.
“She plays with such a high IQ, and not just offensively,” Moore said. “Her defense is tenacious and her voice makes her such a leader for us.”
Jarrett, an NAIA First Team All-American a year ago, averaged 10.4 points and 6.2 assists per game.
“She plays with an ability to make reads and make people around her better, which is exactly what you want in a point guard,” Moore said. “Not only does she know how to make the right pass, but she knows how to create the right pass, and above all she is just so incredibly selfless.”
Moore won the GSAC Coach of the Year Award for the seventh time in her 16 years at Westmont. The Warriors have won 10 straight games since losing their opener at NCAA Division 1 Pepperdine. She will take a career coaching record of 365-123 into the Warriors’ March 13 opener in the NAIA Tournament.
“It’s just because I’ve got the best team there is,” she said. “I’m so proud of my players and their resiliency. If there’s anything I’m trying to teach throughout this process, it’s that it’s a lot more about learning to be resilient in life and I think that this year has called for that.
“The sacrifices that every single person on our team has made, to be COVID-free all year so that we could actually go out there and compete and do what we love, it just makes me so proud of them and grateful for the role that every single person has played.”
Four Warriors win weekly awards
Westmont nearly swept the GSAC’s Player of the Week Awards, with Warriors in four different sports named to the honor. They were Ajay Singh in men’s basketball, Sydney Brown in women’s basketball, Keelyn Kistner in women’s volleyball, and Gabi Haw in women’s soccer.
Singh received the award for men’s basketball after leading Westmont to a three-game sweep of Hope International. The 6-foot-6 senior had games of 34, 33 and 23 points while making 66.7% of his shots (36-of-54) and 85% of his free throws (17-of-20). He also averaged 13.7 rebounds on the week.
Singh concluded the season with averages of 21.3 points on 60.3% shooting and 6.2 rebounds.
Brown, a 6-foot sophomore forward, received the GSAC Women’s Basketball Player of the Week Award after Westmont extend its winning streak to nine with a win over Hope International. She made 7-of-10 field goals and 5-of-6 free throws for 19 points and also grabbed nine rebounds.
Kistner was honored by the GSAC with its women’s volleyball Setter of the Week Award. Her teammate in Westmont’s 6-2 offense, Sydny Dunn, won the award last week.
Kistner led No. 4 Westmont (7-0, 4-0 GSAC) to a pair of comeback wins at San Diego Christian, 3-2 and 3-1. She recorded 60 assists in the two victories. She also had 36 digs with no receiving errors.
Haw, the reigning All-GSAC goalkeeper in women’s soccer, earned the league’s weekly award after recording her 23rd career shutout in a 2-0 victory Vanguard in Westmont’s league opener. She had four saves in the match. She earned her 24th shutout this week in a 1-0 win over Hope International.