On Thursday, Caitlin Larson was unstoppable on the low block for the Westmont women’s basketball team.
Her 25 points on 11-for-13 shooting, which included two makes from three, helped the Warriors pick apart Arizona Christian by 23 points.
Saturday, the sophomore post was hoping for a repeat performance. The only problem was her shot couldn’t find the bottom of the net whatsoever.
Instead of sulking, Larson helped in other ways, like for instance, collecting a career-high 21 rebounds to help Westmont defeat Ottawa University of Arizona by a final score of 70-48 for its fourth-straight win.
Larson’s 21 boards are the fourth-most in a single game in program history.
“My shots just were not falling inside so you have to find other ways to make yourself effective. Getting rebounds is something you could control and I just try to do the most I can for my team on any given day,” Larson, who scored nine points on 3 of 16 shooting, said.
Larson’s 21 rebounds also helped Westmont dominate the battle of the boards, winning 54-45, which coach Kirsten Moore said was a big reason for the win.
“I thought today, the big thing was just our effort on the boards. We ended up out rebounding them and they are the No. 2 team in the nation in rebounding, so for us to outrebound them was really good,” Moore said.
“Caitlin Larson struggled to finish (shots) today but 21 rebounds is huge and Maud with 12. It was just a monster effort on the boards by us tonight.”
Senior captain Maud Ranger finished with a double-double Saturday, scoring 12 points and pulling down 12 rebounds.
The leading scorer for the Warriors was guard Lauren Tsuneishi. The junior shot 6-for-12 from 3-point range, scoring 18 points, 12 of which came in the final frame to help Westmont pull away late.
Before the perfect frame, Tsuneishi was just 2-for-8 from the floor, highlighting the fact that every player in a Westmont uniform struggled to hit open looks Saturday.
Despite scoring 12 points, Ranger was just 4-for-15 from the floor, with all shots coming from deep.
As a team, Westmont shot under 25% from the floor in the first half, scoring just 28 points.
“Tonight was one of those games where things were more of a struggle for us offensively. We are really good shooters and we struggled shooting the ball which was surprising considering they were even in a zone which usually lets our shooters light it up, but we just could not find the bottom of the net,” Moore said.
Despite a tough shooting day, which saw Westmont hit just 32% (24-for-75) of its shots, it never trailed.
The reason being, the Warriors defense was solid, especially in the first half.
OUAZ shot just 7-for-31 (22%) in the first half, scoring just 19 points and just 3-for-17 (17.6%) in the first quarter, registering just six points on the scoreboard.
“Because we struggled with our shot we really had to rely on our defense and we played really good defense, especially in the first half with holding them to 19 points,” Moore said.
Another big factor for the Warriors was the fact they forced 10 turnovers Saturday, seven of which came in the first half.
On the flip side, Westmont turned the ball over just three times, with only one coming in the first half, allowing them to build a 28-19 advantage despite the off-shooting.
In the third quarter, both sides started picking up their offense a little bit.
The Warriors started the frame with two quick baskets from Iyree Jarrett, who finished with 15 points on 6-for-13 shooting.
From there, both sides traded baskets with Westmont’s lead getting to as large as 14 points after a make from Larson.
A layup, followed by a three from OUAZ pulled the Spirit back to within nine just before the end of the third.
The Warriors shooting struggles stopped in the fourth period, where they shot 53% from the floor.
Westmont began the frame with two threes from Tsuneishi to lead by 16 and then never looked back, outscoring the Spirit 27-15 over the final 10 minutes.
“Lauren was really huge for us tonight. She got up for us all night and stepped up to shoot a high percentage and loosened it up when we are struggling to make shots. She knocked down some big looks for us,” Moore said.
The fourth straight win for the Warriors is just another sign of how the team is moving on from its loss to then-No. 1 The Master’s.
The Warriors are eyeing revenge on the Lions Feb. 22 at Santa Clarita but know that every game before then is equally as important.
“Every game is a championship game for us. If we dropped one, then it doesn’t matter the next time we face The Master’s so we want the next time we seem them to matter. That’s all we are trying to do with every game since that loss,” Larson said.