The Westmont women’s basketball team enjoyed the downtown experience against visiting Life Pacific on Tuesday night.
Behind 15 3-pointers, the Warriors cruised to a 76-57 victory over a team with the same nickname. Westmont finished an impressive 40.5% (15 of 37) from beyond the arc.
Guards Lauren Tsuneishi and Iyree Jarrett, along with forward Gabriella Stoll each finished with three 3-pointers in the game.
“When your average height is 5-foot-5, you’ve got to find a way to be successful. I think the two things for us are just how hard we play, the hustle and the heart we play with, and our ability to shoot the ball,” Westmont coach Kirsten Moore said.
“We also take care of the ball. We lead the nation (in the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics) in 3-point shooting, and we lead the nation in assists-to-turnover ratio. Those are really the keys to us being able to find success.”
It wasn’t hard for the Warriors to find success against a Life Pacific team that entered with a 5-17 overall record and a 1-11 mark in the Golden State Athletic Conference.
After Maud Ranger gave Westmont a 4-2 lead with a short jumper at the 8:32 mark of the first quarter, the Warriors never trailed again. While Ranger only had five points, she corralled a game-high 13 rebounds. Sophomore center Kaitlin Larson had a double-double of 14 points and 11 rebounds, while Stoll finished with 15 points off the bench. Even Larson, who doesn’t shoot a lot of 3-pointers, finished 1-for-1 from beyond the arc.
“All of them have the green light (to shoot) for sure,” Moore said with a smile. “They’ve all earned the right to have the green light. They can really shoot the ball. They work a lot on it where they’re dialed in.
“They have the right to shoot, and they do so with a lot of confidence.”
Life Pacific didn’t pose a height issue for Westmont like a lot of other teams do. Westmont’s two tallest players are 6-foot.
But as the Warriors (20-3 overall, 13-1 Golden State Athletic Conference) proved once again on Tuesday night, what they lack in height, they make up for with pure hustle at both ends of the floor. Life Pacific found that out the hard way, as the visiting Warriors were completely dominated in all facets of the game — including rebounding, where Westmont finished with a 44-30 advantage.
“Defensively, I think we’ve had to get really creative this year just because of our size,” Moore said. “Tonight, we weren’t undersized against our opponent, but most of our opponents are much bigger than us, so we’ve just got to get really creative, defensively.
“We’ve also had to have big-time efforts on the boards. We saw my little 5-foot girls getting in there and getting all those offensive rebounds, and that’s been a big key for us this season, as well.”
Westmont had 19 offensive rebounds compared to four for Life Pacific.
Jarrett, who is a sophomore, did an outstanding job again running the point for the Warriors.
She finished with 11 points, seven assists and two blocked shots.
“I definitely take more pride in my assists,” she said with a smile. “I think our team is so unique in that we have great shooters, great posts inside, and so being able to hit them with passes, and then watch them creatively finish, is really enjoyable for me.”
Krissy Miyahara, like Jarrett, also finished with 11 points. Miyahara came off the bench to hit three 3-pointers for the Warriors, who led 39-24 at halftime.
Westmont finished 27 of 67 (40.3%) from the field and 7-for-14 (50%) from the free-throw line. The Warriors also committed only seven turnovers compared to 12 for Life Pacific. Westmont held an 18-3 edge in points off of turnovers.