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College Basketball

Westmont Women Capture GSAC Tournament Title

FULLERTON — Aysia Shellmire recorded a double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds and Cora Chan put up 12 points in the final period to lead NAIA No. 7 Westmont Women's Basketball to a 61-52 win over No. 19 The Master's in the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament Championship on Tuesday night at Hope International.

It's the second straight tourney title for the Warriors (27-4).

Chan totaled 15 points, Aimee Brakken put up 11, and Lauren McCoy had 10 in a balanced Westmont attack.

The Warriors will now head to Billings, Montana to play in the NAIA National Tournament against an opponent to be determined. The tournament will take place from March 15-21.

"I think our players are battle tested and have been in this situation before, so I think their experience really showed in clutch situations in all of these tournament games," said Westmont coach Kirsten Moore of the team's performance in the GSAC Final. "Four of our starters have all played in a final four and I think that experience really came through." 

The Warriors came out hot with an 11-2 run that eventually led to a first quarter score of 18-8. 

The Warriors held an eight point lead, 32-23, at halftime. They struggled to score in third.

"The Master's stepped up their defense and we couldn't score at all or gain any sort of momentum," explained Moore, "but the fact that we could rely on getting stats from boards during that stretch was huge."

"The boards were incredible tonight," continued Moore. "We had 50 rebounds, out-rebounding them by 18, and had 22 offensive rebounds."

The Mustangs harnessed momentum and strung together five points to come within five (37-32) with only 14 seconds remaining in the quarter. However, Chan responded with a three-pointer at the buzzer to put the Warriors up by eight going into the final period (40-32). 

"When Cora Chan hit a buzzer beater at the end of the third I think she finally got momentum back going for us," reflected Moore, - "I think that was the shot of the game. After that, she continued to hit big shot after big shot. She scored all 15 of her points in the last second of the third and then in all of the fourth. That is just a senior with tons of experience stepping up when she needed to."

Three separate times when The Master's would come within four points of the Warriors, Chan hit a corresponding three-pointer to put Westmont up by seven. With 2:33 left in the game The Master's had come within four points once again, but this time, Shellmire hit a jump shot to put Westmont up by six (56-50). 

With 33 seconds remaining, the Mustangs' Bianca Cubello put up a layup to come within four, and then The Mustangs fouled Chan to stop the clock (56-52). Chan came in clutch once again when she made her next three free throws and increased the Warriors' lead to seven (59-52), and Westmont's Joy Krupa closed out the game with two made free throws.

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