For the first time since 2018, the Westmont women’s basketball team will play in the NAIA title game in Sioux City, Iowa.
The Warriors got 26 points from Stefanie Berberabe and 15 from Kaitlin Larson in a 74-65 win over Indiana Wesleyan in a semifinal game on Monday night.
“Steph was phenomenal again today,” Westmont coach Kirsten Moore said. She’s so dynamic, and as dynamic as she is and capable, offensively, her heart is even bigger. She’s just such a fierce competitor and I’m so proud of her.”
Westmont, which led by 10 at halftime, is in search of the program’s second NAIA national championship, with the first coming in 2013.
“It required all the toughness that we had, physically as well as mentally,” Moore said of Monday’s win. “They’re a very physical team. We knew they were going to try to be physical with us. Defensively, I thought that they got up in us and made every look difficult.
“We knew the key to the game was whether we could get enough stops, because they’re very dangerous, offensively. I feel like every time they made a run, my team answered the call and hit a big shot or made a big play that we needed.”
The Warriors also got double-figure scoring from guard Lauren Tsuneishi, who finished with 11. Westmont didn’t shoot particularly well from 3-point range, but the Warriors were solid from the field, overall. Westmont finished 7 of 26 from 3-point range (27%), but was an impressive 43% (26-61) from the field. The Warriors were also very good at the free-throw line, converting 15 of 19 tries compared to 7 of 9 for Indiana Wesleyan.
Westmont also won the rebounding battle, 32-31, and committed only seven turnovers in the game. The Warriors, who led by as many as 18 points in the second half, forced the Wildcats into making 13 turnovers.
Westmont, the No. 2 seed in the tournament, takes on No. 1 seed Thomas More of Kentucky in tonight’s title game at 5 p.m. (PDT).
“We’re excited, but we’ve got a lot of recovery to do with how much of a toll that kind of took on our bodies in the game,” Moore said. “That being said, I’ll take my team’s toughness any day. I know they’re going to be both mentally and physically tough to be able to bounce back.”
College Baseball : UCSB’s Mortensen garners Player of the Week honor
For the third time this season, a UCSB baseball player has been named the Big West Conference Field Player of the Week.
This time it’s junior outfielder Broc Mortensen.
UCSB opened Big West Conference play this past weekend at Cal State Fullerton — where the Gauchos split a four-game series. Mortensen was outstanding the entire weekend. He hit .500 (8-for-16) with three home runs and nine runs batted in. He also had three doubles.
“He was great,” UCSB coach Andrew Checketts said.
Mortensen saved his best for last by going 3-for-4 with two home runs, a double, five runs batted and three runs scored in Sunday’s series finale — which the Gauchos lost, 10-9, in 10 innings. Mortensen’s second home run of the game came with one out and one on in the ninth inning that tied the game, 9-9.
While Checketts was pleased with Mortensen’s performance, he was also happy with the play of right fielder Zach Rodriguez, especially at the plate.
“Zach Rodriguez is tough to pitch to,” Checketts said. “He’s got a tiny little hole (in his swing) and if you don’t throw it there, he hits the ball hard. He’s aggressive and plays with some mentality.
“Shoot, I might have him come in and try to close the game out,” Checketts joked after his bullpen blew a 7-4 lead in the seventh inning on Sunday.
UCSB hosts UC Davis in a four-game Big West Conference series beginning Friday night at 5 p.m.
Men’s Volleyball : Wilcox named Big West Defensive Player of the Week
UCSB’s Ryan Wilcox was named the Big West Conference’s Defensive Player of the Week on Monday after he combined for 32 digs in two matches last weekend against Long Beach State.
It’s Wilcox’s first such honor.
The junior outside hitter notched a career-high 18 digs in the first match, which the Gauchos won, and finished with 14 scoops in the second match, which Long Beach State won in four sets. Wilcox was also a presence on offense, as he delivered 18 kills in the two matches, which included 10 in the first match.
Foresters host annual golf tournament next month
It’s normally a golf tournament that is reserved for the Friday after Thanksgiving.
But because of COVID-19, the Santa Barbara Foresters had to move their annual event to April 24. The team is taking sign ups now for the tournament, which benefits the Foresters’ Hugs for Cubs program that tends to the needs of sick children.
“It’s a support program for childhood cancer victims and survivors and their families,” Foresters manager Bill Pintard said. “It’s been in existence for 25 years. In a normal year we do hospital visits in Santa Barbara and also in Wichita, Kansas (where the Foresters compete in the National Baseball Congress World Series).
“We have trips to the Angels games and the Dodgers games. We have a surf day, we take them bowling at Zodos. … We’ve been spreading joy with these kids for a long time.”
The golf tournament is the team’s biggest annual fundraiser.
This year, former Angels manager Mike Scioscia will be one of the featured guests teeing it up.
“Mike Scoscia is bringing up a foursome and lots of guys from some major league front offices are going to make it,” Pintard said. “We’re also going to have a number of ex-players playing in the tournament, as well.”
A sports memorabilia auction will follow the tournament at Glen Annie Golf Club.
“We’re going to auction some Dodger memorabilia, we’re going to have an autographed Aaron Judge jersey,” Pintard said. “We’re going to have some signed baseballs … and we’re going to auction off a trip.”
For more information and to sign up for the tournament, which is a scramble format, visit sbforesters.org, or call (805) 684-0657.