All 12 Warriors scored as #2 Westmont Women’s Basketball (2-0) posted a 71-46 victory over Bushnell (Ore.) in their home opener on Wednesday evening.
“Like most early-season games, it wasn’t always pretty,” noted Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore, “but we are making our way with new players as we get used to new offensive schemes and new rotations. We still have a lot to learn and a long way to go to be as good as we want to be, but it is November 2, so that is okay. It is all part of the process.”
From an offensive perspective, the game started slowly for both teams. Westmont scored on its first two possessions with a pair of layups from Destiny Okonkwo. After that, however, neither team scored for nearly three minutes. A lay-up by Bella Pedrogetti put the Beacons on the board, making the score 4-2.
With less than two minutes to play in the half, Westmont had a 10-8 lead. That’s when the momentum started to build for the Warriors. Aleena Cook hit back-to-back jumpers and Stefanie Berberabe scored in the paint to close out the first half and give Westmont a 16-8 lead.
Bushnell scored first in the second quarter, with a traditional 3-point play by Mandy Sisul, that made the score 16-11. Westmont responded with an 8-0 run on a pair of free throws by Kate Goostrey, a layup by Okonkwo, a 3-point bucket by Hailey Dermer and a layup by Sydney Brown. That gave Westmont a 25-11 advantage and the Warriors maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the game. Laila Saenz closed out first-half play with back-to-back 3-point field goals to put the Warriors ahead 31-16.
“I thought our defense in the first half was phenomenal, holding them to 15 points,” expressed Moore. “Our rebounding has been consistently strong. We outrebounded them by 16 tonight with 46 boards. We are getting a high percentage of our missed shots, which gives us opportunities for second shots.”
Westmont collected 18 offensive rebounds tonight while surrendering just seven to Bushnell.
“One of our keys tonight, knowing the aggressiveness that Bushnell plays with on defense, was a focus on taking care of the basketball,” reported Moore. “We had single-digit turnovers (eight), which was a big deal for us. In a game that I think could have gotten pretty sloppy, we stayed focused.”
Both teams picked up the scoring pace in the second half, but Westmont continued to press its advantage, outscoring Bushnell 40-31 in the second half.
Goostrey, who went three for four from 3-point range, led the Warriors with 13 points, Berberabe added 10 points and four rebounds. Sarah Kramer came off the bench to score nine points while Okonkwo notched eight points for the Warriors and pulled down five rebounds. Sydney Brown collected a team-high nine boards while adding six points.
Westmont will be back in action on Saturday afternoon when they travel to Azusa Pacific for an exhibition match-up with the Cougars. Tip-off is scheduled for 1 p.m.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.