For the third time in her career and the second time this season, Westmont guard Stefanie Berberabe recorded a triple-double in today’s game against Westcliff (7-3). The Warriors from Santa Barbara (11-0) defeated the Warriors from Irvine by a score of 60-40.
Berberabe tallied 10 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists on Saturday afternoon to record the program’s fifth triple-double and help lead the Warriors to their 11th win of the season. She also had four steals.
“From the start of the game you could see that she was dialed in – she had five rebounds in the first quarter,” noted Westmont’s head coach Kirsten Moore. “Stef makes so much happen with her aggressiveness and her intelligence. What she does is remarkable.”
Junior forward Destiny Okonkwo led the Warriors in scoring, going seven of 11 from the floor on her way to a season-high 15 points and five rebounds.
“Destiny has been such an anchor for us on our defense,” said Moore. “I am super excited to see her playing with the confidence that she deserves to have on the offensive end. She was so aggressive and gave us an inside presence. She impacted the game on both ends of the floor tonight.”
Kate Goostrey contributed 10 points to Westmont’s cause, hitting a pair of 3-pointers in the third quarter that enabled the maroon-clad Warriors to pull away from their namesake in blue.
Westmont held Westcliff to just four points in the fourth quarter but had trouble generating much offense of their own, posting just 13 points.
“We were struggling to finish from the perimeter,” acknowledged Moore. “We haven’t had access to our gym all week and it has been finals. There are probably a lot of reasons why, but we can’t make excuses. It was definitely not the sharpest offensive effort out there.”
Murchison Gymnasium was closed for floor renovations this week and did not open until this morning.
“I was really pleased with our defensive effort, especially to start the game and in the third quarter,” expressed Moore. “Our starting group was getting it done on the defensive end of the floor and setting the tone that way. Even though we were struggling offensively, it was good that we could count on our defense.”
In the second quarter, Westcliff found some offensive rhythm and outscored Westmont 15-13. A layup in the final seconds by Berberabe gave Westmont a 26-19 advantage headed into the intermission.
Defense continued to be the byword for the beginning of the third quarter. Westcliff’s Eva Taylor (12 points) scored the only points of the first four minutes with a layup at the 7:50 mark, reducing Westmont’s advantage to just five points (26-21).
With six minutes to play in the penultimate period, Goostrey nailed a 3-pointer to score Westmont’s first points of the second half and put the Warriors up 29-21. On the ensuing possession, Westcliff had to contend with Westmont’s pressure in the back court and committed a 10-second violation. The Westmont defense forced three 10-second calls during the game.
Sydney Brown (6 points, 7 rebounds) inbounded the ball to Berberabe who found Goostrey alone in the left corner. The sophomore guard drained another 3-pointer, giving Westmont a double-digit advantage (32-21). Westmont scored the next four points on a left-handed hook shot by Okonkwo and a pair of free throws by Brown. The 10-0 run produced a 36-21 advantage for the home team. Westmont maintained its 15-point lead in the balance of the third quarter, finishing on top of Westcliff 42-27.
With three minutes to play in the final frame, Berberabe pilfered the ball from Westcliff’s Neyha Lali, then drove the length of the floor. Her layup gave Westmont its largest lead of the game (57-35). It was also Berberabe’s 10th point and completed the triple-double.
Berberabe’s first career triple-double came just 10 months ago in the quarterfinals of the 2022 GSAC Championship when she recorded 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in a game against San Diego Christian. Exactly one month ago (November 17), the senior guard produced her second triple-double with 11 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists against Arizona Christian.
With the win, Westmont heads into the Christmas break undefeated for the first time in program history.
The Warriors will put their unbeaten record on the line on Thursday and Friday, December 29 and 30, when they host the Westmont Holiday Classic. At noon on Thursday, Westmont will play Southeastern of Lakeland, Florida (6-6). Then at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, the Warriors will take on the Eutectics of Health Sciences and Pharmacy from Saint Louis, Missouri (9-3). The tournament will be held concurrently with the 45th Tom Byron Classic hosted by Westmont Men’s Basketball.
Ron Smith is the sports information director at Westmont College.