Westmont stars Stefanie Berberabe, Sydney Brown
Stefanie Berberabe, left, and Sydney Brown have impact players in all five seasons they've played basketball at Westmont College

Sydney Brown and Stefanie Berberabe are the first fifth-year players in Westmont College women’s basketball history.

The players made a commitment to coach Kirsten Moore and the program that they would play the extra year of eligibility they received due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Moore couldn’t say enough about their importance to the entire program during Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe.

First off, Brown and Berberabe already have been a part of history at Westmont. They both played on the 2021 NAIA championship team; Brown is the program’s first four-year team captain and Berberabe just became the program’s all-time scoring leader. 

“And, there’s more to come,” Moore promised.

The team is currently 17-1 and ranked fifth in the NAIA.

Brown leads the team in total rebounds with 121 (53 on the offensive boards) and is averaging 6.7 per game.

But there’s more to her game than statistics.

Moore said Brown’s “leadership is absolutely essential to what we’ve been able to do as a program. He responsibility is just off the charts, and she helps everyone else learn how to have responsibility as well.

“She’s been through a lot in her four years, including an ACL (injury in the 19-21 season) and has come back stronger. She’s been a starter since her freshman year and continues to make a huge impact. She’s one of the best rebounders that our program has ever had.”

Berberabe overall game continually amazes Moore.

Over the weekend, Berberabe became the program’s all-time leading scorer. She has 1,555 points, passing Lauren McCoy’s mark of 1,538 points in nine less games (123 to 132).

“I tell people I’ve run out of adjectives and words to describe what this young woman does on the court. And your opportunities to see that in person as a community are coming to an end.”

Moore encouraged the luncheon audience to come up to Westmont and see Berberabe and the Warriors in action.

“There’s so few games left. We just want to cherish every moment we have, but there’s really only a few home games left. And what she does is absolutely mind blowing.

“I would love every high school player or kid growing up to see just how hard she plays. And it’s never about her. We’ve had phenomenal players in this program, but it’s never been about her wanting to score. It’s just about her wanting to help our team be our best.”

The Warriors (17-1 and 10-1 in the GSAC) are home Saturday against The Master’s at 5:30 p.m. The remaining regular-season home games are Feb. 2, 4, 16 and 18.

Moore said all high school coaches can send her an email about their teams coming to a game and she’ll get everyone in for free.

“You guys need to come see how incredible this team is. They play so hard, they play well together, they care about the right things. And I’m just so proud of them and grateful for them.”

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.