Bailey Fong made five of eight 3-point attempts on her way to 17 points to help lead the Warriors to a 57-54 victory over Westcliff (1-2). Westmont improved to 2-1 in the team’s home opener on Tuesday afternoon.
“I was really proud of Bailey today,” Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore said. “I thought she came out aggressive and confident. She knocked down a lot of good looks today. We also had good contributions off the bench tonight, which was really helpful.”
The Warrior reserves tallied 17 points, compared to just six by Westcliff’s bench.
Westmont led by 11 at the half (37-26) – largely because of Fong’s 14 first-half points. In the third quarter, however, the Warriors struggled and allowed Westcliff to pull within three (43-40).
A layup by Westcliff’s Valisa Millhouse to start the final frame made it a one-point game at 43-42. Fong recorded her final triple with 8:12 remaining, giving Westmont a four-point lead. However, Eva Taylor answered in kind to make the score 46-45.
With 7:34 remaining on the clock, Sage Kramer connected on a jumper in the paint to give Westmont a 48-45 cushion. Neither team scored over the next two minutes.
Then, Kristian Yumul put the Warriors up by five with a jumper. Destiny Okonkwo, who tallied eight points, followed up by laying the ball in the basket for a seven-point Warrior lead (52-45) with 4:53 to play.
“Destiny was everywhere – offensively and defensively,” Moore said. “She led us in rebounding with 13 and she had five blocks. She led us in grit and toughness. She made a lot of essential plays and anchored us out there.”
A triple by Taylor and a jumper by Millhouse cut Westcliff’s deficit to just two (52-50) with 2:13 remaining. Then Kate Goostrey nailed a three to restore a five-point Westmont advantage. (55-50).
The next two buckets would be scored by Westcliff, however, resulting in a one-point game 55-54 with 45 seconds to play. With 13 seconds left, Westcliff missed two free throws that could have given them the lead.
Instead, Goostrey went to the charity stripe after being fouled with 8.1 seconds to play. It was the first time Westmont had been awarded free throws all game.
Goostrey sank both attempts, putting the Warriors on top 57-54. Then, a 3-point attempt by Taylor went astray, securing the win for Westmont.
“Obviously, it was good to hold on and get a win,” Moore said. “There is a lot that we can learn from this game. We have a lot of growing to do ahead. This is a team I believe can get there, we just have a lot to keep working through.
Westmont will next take to the court at the end of the week when they travel to Ellensburg, Washington for two games. On Friday, Westmont will face off against Northwest Nazarene (Idaho).
Then on Saturday, the Warriors will take on their hosts, Central Washington. Both games are scheduled for a 3:00 p.m. tip-off.