Westmont College ran out of gas in overtime after rallying from an 11-point deficit during the final two minutes of regulation in its 91-78 women’s basketball defeat at UC Irvine on Wednesday.
Stefanie Berberabe led the comeback, scoring eight of her game-high 25 points in the final minute of regulation. They included a game-tying runner with just 0.5 seconds on the clock.
The Warriors, now 0-2 against NCAA Division 1 competition, got a left-handed runner by Sydney Brown with 1:37 left to ignite a 13-2 run to finish the fourth quarter. Brown finished with 12 points and five rebounds before fouling out.
Krissy Miyahara’s three-pointer from the corner with 46.1 seconds remaining added to Berberabe’s eight-point flurry in the final minute of regulation.
Iyree Jarrett contributed 17 points and four steals while Lauren Tsuneishi added 13 points before fouling out.
The Warriors were called for 31 fouls, many committed out of the necessity of stopping the clock. UCI (1-2) made 27-of-41 free throws, with Kayla Williams going 14-for-20 to lead the Anteaters with 24 points.
Westmont got three-pointers from Tsuneishi, Berberabe and Jarrett to take a 13-7 lead in the first six minutes. A step-back jumper by Berberabe and another three by Tsuneishi kept the Warriors ahead at 18-15 with 37.2 seconds left in the first period.
But Westmont went cold to surrender its lead during the second quarter, missing 17 of 18 shots in one stretch which included 1-for-15 shooting from 3-point range. For the game, the Warriors were out-shot by Irvine 56% to 33.8% overall and 40% to 25.6% from three.
They stayed in the game by scrambling for rebounds, reclaiming 13 of their misses in the first half alone. Westmont out-rebounded the Anteaters 25-18 during the first two periods. Jarrett’s three kept the Warriors within a point, 27-26, by halftime.
Brown scored six of her 12 points in the first three minutes of the second half to put Westmont ahead 34-31. But Irvine answered with a 13-3 run and never trailed again.
The Anteaters nearly evened out the rebound numbers by game’s end, trailing the Warriors just 44-42. Chloe Webb led UCI with 15 rebounds — nine during the second half and overtime — while Destiny Okonkwo led Westmont with eight rebounds.
The Warriors will play another Big West Conference school when they travel to Long Beach State on Saturday for a 2 p.m. game.
WESTMONT MEN’S GAME CANCELED DUE TO COVID
Landon Boucher’s debut as Westmont College’s head men’s basketball coach was delayed once again when La Sierra College announced that it was suspending all of its athletic competition because of a surge of COVID-19 cases in Riverside County.
The two teams had been scheduled to play at Murchison Gym on Wednesday night.
Westmont’s next game is at Murchison Gym on Friday at 6 p.m. against Concordia College of Irvine.
La Sierra made the decision after Riverside County announced 10,949 new COVID-19 cases on Tuesday. The number was in part the result of a testing backlog but also represents a sharp increase from recent days. Los Angeles County, with a population four times the size of Riverside County, has yet to have a day with that many cases of the coronavirus.
It marks the second time in the last five days that Westmont has had a game canceled. Friday’s exhibition contest at Pacific was called off when a member of the Tigers’ program tested positive for COVID-19.
The Warriors also had games against Saint Katherine’s and Antelope Valley canceled. They did play an exhibition contest at Cal State Northridge.