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Tuesday, March 19 , 2019, 8:36 pm | Light Rain Fog/Mist 53º

 
 
 
 
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College Basketball

Westmont’s Lauren Tsuneishi, Kaitlin Larson Earn All-GSAC Honors

Westmont's Lauren Tsuneishi and Kaitlin Larson have been named to the 2018-19 All-Golden State Athletic Conference women's basketball team. Tsuneishi is a sophomore guard from Torrance and Kaitlin is a freshman post player from Camano Island, Washington.

Tsuneishi is averaging 9.1 points and has 2.1 assists.

Kaitlin Larson Click to view larger
Kaitlin Larson
Lauren Tsuneishi Click to view larger
Lauren Tsuneishi

"I'm thrilled for Lauren because she has worked so hard, given so much and sacrificed so much for this team and for our success," said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. "I am so glad she is getting the recognition that she most certainly deserves.

"Lauren embodies everything we are about as far as her team-first attitude," noted Moore. "She is so unselfish, wanting the team to be successful. I was hoping that GSAC coaches would recognize in her the things that don't show up on stat sheets. She could score a lot more points in games, but she would much rather get her teammates the ball. That does show up in her assist-to-turnover ratio where she is number one in the nation by a significant margin."

Tsuneishi leads the NAIA with a 3.30 assist-to-turnover ratio. On the season, the point guard has committed just 20 turnovers.

"Lauren understands how important every possession is," said Moore. "She takes care of the basketball and creates opportunities for her teammates by knowing the right reads offensively. She knows all five positions so that she can help everybody be in the right spot. She knows what side of the floor we need to run to. She is like a coach on the floor for us.

"She is a fierce competitor and is at her best at the biggest moments, which we see over and over. We saw that when we beat The Master's at home and in the GSAC semifinal when we were down by eight and she stepped up and hit two big threes."

Tsuneishi leads the Warriors with 77 three-pointers and shoots 38.3% from beyond the arc.

"Last year she stepped up throughout the last half of the season and made the all-tournament team at the national championship, which is really hard to do. She carried that momentum into the summer and stepped up as a leader in a role that is really hard for someone who has just been here a year.

The 10th-ranked Warriors (24-7) are fresh off a 60-50 win over #5 The Master's in the GSAC Tournament title game. With the win, Westmont made GSAC history as the only team to win the championship four years in a row. Instrumental in the win was Larson who tallied 18 points and eight rebounds.

Larson averaged 12.6 points and 7.0 rebounds this season.

"When I recruited Kaitlin, I knew she was tenacious. She doesn't back down from anyone," said Moore. "She was undersized when we recruited her and a lot of coaches may have thought that was an impediment to her being a significant contributor at the college level. Her heart and her toughness overcomes any height deficiency that she may have and that showed this year.

"Kaitlin ended up being our leading scorer and has been one of our consistent rebounders. She became the inside presence for us. She has worked very hard for that.

"We graduated three posts who played a lot last year, so, Kaitlin had big shoes to fill and I am so proud of her for being a fighter day in and day out. She rose to the challenge. There was a great opportunity with all we had graduating at that position and she has made the most of that opportunity and has been what we needed as an anchor in the post"

On Wednesday, the Warriors will learn their seeding and first-round opponent at the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball National Championship that begins on Wednesday, March 13 in Billings, Montana.

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