COSTA MESA — Westmont Women’s Basketball (20-2, 13-2) — ranked fifth in the NAIA — suffered its second loss of the year, falling to No. 12 Vanguard (19-4, 12-3) by a score of 53-50. 

The visiting Warriors recorded their lowest shooting percentage of the year, making just 29.6% from the floor (16 of 54).

“I am proud of how our players battled,” noted Westmont’s head coach Kirsten Moore. “Obviously, that was two tough offensive teams. I thought we got a lot of great looks, but didn’t get shots to go down in the second half. They knocked down the shots down the stretch, credit them for that.”

The Warriors defense held up well, limiting the Lions’ Melissa Akullu — who leads the Golden State Athletic Conference in field goal percentage — to just three points on one-of-eight field goal attempts.

“We forced more turnovers, we had more steals and more offensive rebounds,” pointed out Moore. “We won the game in a lot of areas, but unfortunately we didn’t knock down shots tonight to win on the scoreboard.

“We played tough, gritty defense, but we let their shooters get loose for too many threes.”

The Lions were led in scoring by Lauren Baumgartner who tallied 17 points. Halle Si’l added 15 and Jaryn Madsen notched 12.

Stefanie Berberabe tallied 17 points, six rebounds, six steals and three assists for the Warriors while Kate Goostrey added 14 points on four-of-nine shooting from beyond the arc. Sage Kramer scored eight of her 10 points in the fourth quarter.

Westmont held a 31-28 lead at the half. Unfortunately, however, the Warriors only made six second-half field goals as they were outscored 25-19 in the third and fourth quarter.

As a result of tonight’s game, Westmont’s lead atop the GSAC standings has dropped to one game over second-place Vanguard with three games left in the regular season. Menlo (17-7, 11-4) sits in third place in the GSAC standings, two games behind Westmont.

“The GSAC is still ours to go win,” asserted Moore. “We have tough games coming up so we are going to regroup. Hopefully, this will help us battle down the stretch and try and see if we can close this thing out.”

Saturday, Westmont will travel to San Dimas on Saturday to take on Life Pacific (6-19, 2-13) in a game that is scheduled to start at 5:30 p.m. Next week, Westmont will host Menlo on Thursday and conclude the conference season with Jessup (13-11, 8-7).