The Westmont women’s basketball team welcomed the University of Alberta, which hails from Canada, inside the comfy confines of Murichson Gymnasium Thursday evening and did not show any mercy to its northern counterpart, defeating the Pandas 77-53.
With the win, the Warriors improve to 10-2 overall and have won five straight contests. This is the second time this season they have won five straight. Additionally, Westmont remains undefeated at home enhancing its record to 5-0.
“I am really proud of how my team has come together after a lot of early adversity but we have started to gel and find ourselves. Even though we are a young team, we are experienced because our freshman played so much last year and we played as hard a preseason schedule as we have ever played and had a lot of success so that is exciting,” Westmont coach Kirsten Moore said.
Coming into this matchup, the Warriors had just scored a season-high 109 points on Monday in a game they won by 29. They followed that up with a very efficient scoring outing on Thursday, shooting 43% from the field and from deep, both better than their season average.
The Warriors also made 16 three’s on the night. In the last two games, they have gone 33-of-69 (48%) from deep.
Four players were in double figures for Westmont with senior forward Maud Ranger leading the way with 24 points, a season-high.
All of Ranger’s points came from the 3-point line, where she was 8-for-14 on the night, another season-best mark. She added seven rebounds and a steal.
Being the only senior on the roster, Ranger has stepped up for the Warriors, not just leadership wise but also switching from guard to forward after injuries derailed Westmont for a bit.
“She is phenomenal in how she is leading for us and changing positions for us. Right now, she is leading us in rebounding as a small guard now having to play forward. But she is relentless and she is also shooting the ball really well. She is automatic and worked hard to be that consistent and she is having a major impact,” Moore said.
Sophomore Kaitlin Larson scored 17 points on 7-of-11 shooting from the field, Iyree Jarrett added 14 points and Stefanie Berberabe tallied 11 points.
Berberabe also totaled a game-high seven assists while Gabriella Stoll dominated the glass pulling down 12 boards in a contest where Westmont won the rebounding battle, 33-30.
The Warriors never trailed in this game, jumping out to an 11-2 lead at the start thanks to a trio of three’s, with two coming from Larson.
The Pandas fought back to be within two at 14-12 with just over a few minutes remaining in the first, but a layup from Larson followed by a pair of deep makes from Jarrett pushed Westmont back in front by eight.
Leading 22-16 after the first, two quick three-point baskets quickly helped the Warriors stretch their lead out to 12. They would lead by 15 at the break.
Ranger began the second half with a pair of three’s to put Westmont in front by 21 and the team never looked back from there, leading by as many as 31 in a contest it would win by 24.
Only two players scored in double figures for Alberta, with Claire Signatovich leading the way for the Pandas with 11 points.
Following Thursday’s game, Westmont will now step back into conference play with 15 of its final 16 opponents coming from the Golden State Athletic Conference.
The Warriors had a tough preseason schedule facing a slew of ranked opponents, a number of which were in the top-10.
“We have been tested against a lot of different styles and our preseason did its job in giving us confidence to be able to do different things to win games,” Moore said.
Moore also mentioned how happy she is to get back into conference play, even though the next stretch will be a bit tough with three straight games on the road, beginning with Life Pacific on Saturday.
“We want to compete to win a championship. We won the conference tournament last year and there are three teams in the top five so that shows how hard our league is and how tight this race is going to be. We can’t slip up for one game, we have to work hard every night to get the result we want and even with the injuries we have had, we are capable of that,” Moore said.
BISHOP DIEGO 50, VAUGHN 19
The Bishop Diego girls basketball team started well on Thursday and defeated Vaughn High 50-19 in the first round of pool play of the Avalon Basketball Classic on Catalina Island.
Elliot Redkey led the way with 17 points, Julia De La Cruz added 11 and Clara McDonald scored 10 in the win for the Cardinals (11-3).
Redkey, in particular, had a lot of success getting to the rim and either drawing fouls or getting the basket to drop according to coach Jeff Burich. She was 9-of-10 from the charity stripe.
Lily Simolon and Sydney Naour helped Bishop dominate the glass throughout the contest.
The Cardinals will play two tough opponents, Holy Martyrs and Xavier Prep, both of which ranked are ranked near the top of Div 4AA, today as they continue pool play at the Classic.