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Saturday, January 19 , 2019, 2:55 pm | Fair 71º

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College Basketball

Westmont Women’s Basketball Beaten by No. 1 Vanguard

Despite overcoming a 17-point first quarter deficit, #11 Westmont (7-3, 3-1 GSAC) fell to top-ranked Vanguard (9-0, 3-0), 63-57, in a Golden State Athletic Conference match-up.

Vanguard hit their first four shots of the game and jumped out to a 9-4 lead with Vanessa Murphy (22 points, 13 rebounds) making three of those early buckets. Just under a minute to play in the opening frame, Murphy scored her 12th point, giving the Lions a 24-7 advantage. Westmont's Lauren Tsuneishi (10 points) drained a couple of free throws before the buzzer sounded to make the score 24-9 at the end of the first quarter.

The Warriors began the process of whittling away at the Lion's lead in the second quarter, outscoring Vanguard 16-10. Westmont scored the first six points on a pair of layups by Kaitlin Larson (13 points, 5 rebounds), a jumper by Tsuneishi from just within the arc and a free throw by Gabriella Stoll. 

After a layup by Vanguard's Victoria Chea (12 points, 5 assists), Stefanie Berberabe (13 points, 5 rebounds) laid the ball in the basket to make the score 26-18 in favor of the Lions. Murphy then extended Vanguard's lead to 10 with a layup.

A free throw by Tsuneishi cut the margin to nine before Meghan Peneutea (7 points) added two to Vanguard's total from the charity stripe.

Jumpers by Tsuneishi and Berberabe cut the Lions' lead to seven (30-23) with 2:45 remaining in the half. Chea hit a jumper that was answered by Berberabe, but Chea scored again, this time on a layup, making the score 34-25 at the intermission.

Westmont, the most accurate three-point shooting team in the NAIA at 41.4 percent, had not attempted a three-pointer in the first half. However, Iyree Jarreet (5 points) scored the first points of the second half from beyond the arc to pull the Warriors to within six (34-28).

A pair of free throws by Murphy and a layup by Michaelle Elad (6 points, 4 rebounds) returned the Lion's advantage to double digits (38-28) before the Warrior's defense took over. Westmont held the Lions to just two points over the final 5:45 of the penultimate period while pouring in nine of their own. 

Sydney Brown (10 points, 7 rebounds) scored the first four of those nine points on two free throws and layup. Berberabe rebounded a missed three-pointer by Murphy and drove the length of the court to draw Westmont within two (38-36). Chea held off the Warriors' surge temporarily with a layup, but Maud Ranger scored on a layup and completed the and-one play with a free throw to make the score 40-39.

A layup by Larson gave Westmont its first lead of the game with 2:05 to play in the third quarter. Larson and Tsuneishi then hit back-to-back threes to put the Warriors up 47-40 at the end of the third.

Unfortunately for the Warriors, Vanguard rallied in the fourth quarter, outscoring Westmont 23-10. The Lions took the lead on a layup by Tristen Rollon (10 points) with 5:06 to play. Larsen recaptured the lead for Westmont with a jumper in the paint with 3:44 to go, but Chea scored on a layup on the Lions' next possession.

Vanguard held the lead until Berberabe stole the ball, drove the lane, scored and was fouled. Berberabe's successful free throw tied the game at 57 with 49 seconds remaining. However, it proved to be the final points Westmont would score. The Warriors missed their next three field goal attempts while the Lions connected on one layup and four free throws.

The Warriors will take next week off for finals before hosting the Holiday Classic beginning Tuesday, December 18. The first game at 3:00 p.m. will feature Lewis-Clark State of Idaho (9-2) against #22 The Master's (7-3). Westmont will take on Cornerstone of Michigan (2-13) at 5:30 p.m. The following day, Westmont and The Master's will switch opponents with the Warriors hosting Lewis-Clark State at 5:30 p.m.

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