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College Basketball

Westmont Women Suffer Cold Shooting Night, Lose at Vanguard

Westmont Women's Basketball, ranked fourth in the NAIA, saw its nine-game winning streak come to an end at No. 9 Vanguard  as the Lions beat the Warriors 44-40. The Warriors struggled offensively, making just 11 of 43 from the floor (25.6 percent).

A 3-point field goal by Maud Ranger (9 points, 3 rebounds) with 7:15 remaining in in the first quarter was the only points for the Warriors in the first quarter. Vanguard did not score until Meghan Peneueta (4 points, 8 rebounds) connected for a layup with 3:18 left in the opening frame. Unfortunately for the Warriors (19-6, 11-2 GSAC), Peneueta's bucket started a 10-0 run for the Lions resulting in a 10-3 score at the end of one quarter of play.

A couple of free throws by Lauren McCoy (16 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks) ended the Lions' run, but did not get the Warriors' offense going. Cassidy Tiegs had the only field goal for the Warriors in the second period, dropping in a three with 6:15 to play. By halftime, Vanguard (20-4, 9-4 GSAC) claimed a 20-12 lead and McCoy had collected three fouls. 

The Warriors shooting improved in the second half with Westmont making 9 of 21 attempts for 42.9 percent. The Warriors scored the first five points of the third quarter on a layup by McCoy and a long-range bucket by Lauren Tsuneshi. 

With 4:34 showing on the clock, McCoy was fouled and made both free throws to pull the Warriors within one at 20-19. Vanguard's offense awoke after six and one-half minutes of second-half silence with Victoria Chea (21 points, 3 rebounds) scoring three points on an and-one play that saw McCoy pick up her fourth foul and check out of the game. Two minutes later, Victoria scored on a jumper in the paint to put the Lions back on top 25-19.

Neither team scored again in the quarter until Joy Krupa hit a jumper with seven seconds left, resulting in a 25-21 lead for Vanguard at the end of 30 minutes of play.

The fourth quarter saw both teams heat up. Chea hit another three, 24 seconds into the final quarter but it was immediately answered by Ranger. However, Christiana Gerosterigiou (10 points) struck from downtown on the Lions' next possession to make the score 30-24 with 8:46 left in the game. Jae Ferrin (3 points, 5 rebounds) hit a jumper on Westmont's next possession to cut the Lions' lead to 30-26. 

With 6:51 to play, Tania Uluheua (9 points, 3 rebounds, 4 blocks) scored on a layup before Ranger scored and was fouled for a traditional three-point play making the score 32-29. However, Chea found her range again and restored a six-point advantage to Vanguard (35-29) with 6:04 to play. A pair of free throws by Peneueta gave Vanguard an eight-point lead (37-29) with 5:17 to play.

Three free throws by the Warriors were followed by a layup by McCoy to make the score 37-34 with 3:17 to play. A block by McCoy on the defensive end gave the Warriors the ball. Krupa drew a foul and made both free throws to pull Westmont within one (37-36) with 2:48 to play. 

With 2:34 to play, Chea connected for her fourth 3-pointer, giving Vanguard a 40-36 lead with 2:34 to play.  Over the next two minutes, McCoy scored twice on layups, tying the game at 40 with 1:16 to play. Chea attempted a layup but was blocked from behind by McCoy. However, the ball went out of bounds and was awarded to Vanguard. The Lions inbounded and Uluheua scored on a layup with 1:16 to play. 

Ten seconds later, McCoy fouled out of the game when she was called for a charge. McCoy had just crossed midcourt when a Vanguard player put herself in McCoy's path and McCoy did not see her. 

The Warriors would not score again.

The loss will have no effect on Westmont's seeding in next week's Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament. The Warriors clinched the regular season championship and the number one seed by defeating The Master's last Saturday. 

Vanguard, on the other hand, clinched the number two seed with the win over the Warriors. As a result, both Westmont and Vanguard will have a bye in the first round of the GSAC Tournament, which will be held at Arizona Christian in Phoenix. 

First round games will be played on Friday, March 2. The following day, Westmont will take on the winner of the fourth-fifth seed game and Vanguard will face the winner of the third-sixth seed game. The championship game is scheduled for Monday, March 5 at 3:00 p.m. PST.

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