GLENDALE, Ariz. — The Westmont women’s basketball team (7-1, 1-1 GSAC) collected its first win in Golden State Athletic Conference play on Thursday night, after defeating Arizona Christian (5-3, 1-2) by a score of 81-57.
The Warriors never trailed during the contest and at one point stretched the lead to a game-high 29 points in the fourth quarter.
“We had a lot of really great stretches tonight,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “I thought there were numerous runs where we put things together on both sides of the floor, both defensively and offensively. We played a team that’s used to pressing and causing a lot of havoc and we only committed six turnovers tonight.”
Westmont ultimately outrebounded Arizona Christian 47-33, including 27-16 in the first half, allowing Westmont to score 22 second-chance points compared to ACU’s nine. Sydney Brown led the club with 12 boards, while also finishing with 11 points, and Gabriella Stoll pitched in with 10 rebounds as well.
“We had a pretty great performance on the boards, especially on the offensive glass,” Moore said. “Syd Brown really led us with her effort, and ended up finishing with a double-double. Most of Gabby’s rebounds were in the second and it was nice to see her step up and get those for us.”
Offensively, Westmont’s three leading scorers led the way with Laila Saenz scoring a team-high 20 points, followed by Iyree Jarrett with 19. Stefanie Berberabe scored 18 points, while also leading the club with five assists. Berberabe also contributed with nine rebounds of her own.
Saenz, who stole headlines with six 3-pointers last Saturday, poured in another six three’s during tonight’s matchup.
“Laila can really shoot it and she’s got two great handlers that can get her the ball,” noted Moore. “We just have to keep moving the ball, and tonight our assist-to-turnover ratio was more where it should be with all of our guards getting a bunch of assists and limiting our turnovers.”
Westmont opened up the night on a 9-2 run capped off by a Berberabe jumper, and down the stretch in the first quarter led by as many as ten when Jarrett converted a pair of free throws to make it 20-10.
Halfway through the second quarter, Saenz dropped in a pair of 3-pointers on back-to-back possessions to stretch Westmont’s lead to 36-21. Then, a layup from Brown capped off a 10-0 run that allowed Westmont to claim a 40-21 advantage, their largest of the half.
In the first half, Westmont outscored ACU 40-24 led by Saenz, who scored 14 of her 20 points. The third quarter saw Westmont outscore the Firestorm by the largest margin of the night (24-15), and was the quarter where Berberabe enjoyed a 10-point outburst.
A jumper from Berberabe gave Westmont a game-high 74-45 advantage with a little over five minutes to play, but in the final minutes of the contest the Firestorm found success they hadn’t seen all night. Ultimately, the Firestorm outscored the Warriors 18-17 during the final frame.
“We’ve obviously still got plenty to work on,” stated Moore. “I wasn’t pleased with our defense towards the end of the game and I thought we might have loosened up a little bit. It’s going to be important to limit those mistakes as we get deeper into GSAC play.”
Jacob Norling is the sports information assistant at Westmont College.