In a preview of next year’s PacWest Conference women’s basketball, Westmont (2-0) took on the Cougars of Azusa Pacific on Saturday in an exhibition at the Felix Events Center. The Cougars edged out the Warriors 69-66 in a closely contested game in which neither team held more than a six-point lead at any point.
The Warriors led 18-17 at the end of the first quarter and 38-34 at halftime. Azusa Pacific took the lead 49-48 with 3:40 in the third quarter on a 3-point shot by Alex Lowden. The Cougars extended the lead to 52-48, before the final minute and one-half when the Warriors went on a 6-0 run to take a 54-52 advantage heading into the final frame.
Azusa took the lead for good half way through the fourth quarter. However, Westmont kept it close. With just 33 seconds remaining in the game, Laila Saenz nailed a 3-point shot to make the score 65-64. Azusa made enough free throws down the stretch to maintain its lead.
Saenz and Aleena Cook each scored 13 points to lead the Warriors. Saenz added four rebounds while Cook pulled down three. Sydney Brown added nine points and four assists and Stefanie Berberabe tallied nine points and seven assists. Destiny Okonkwo posted eight points and eight rebounds.
The Warriors return to action on Thursday when they host Xavier of Louisiana (1-0) at Murchison Gym. Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.