Stefanie Berberabe became Westmont Women’s Basketball’s all-time leading scorer with a 20-point performance in the Warriors’ 80-64 Golden State Athletic Conference win at Arizona Christian (9-11, 5-6 GSAC).
Westmont improved to 17-1 overall and 10-1 in GSAC play.
Berberabe recorded a double-double in the effort, tallying 12 rebounds while adding five assists and four steals. The double-double was the fourth of the season for Berberabe and the ninth of her career.
“Stef was all over the place tonight,” reported Westmont’s head coach Kirsten Moore. “She played at such a high level against a pretty chaotic system with all the line-change substitutions we were facing today. She is so composed and we know we are going to be okay when the ball is in her hands no matter what defense gets thrown at us.”
The senior guard entered the game needing three points to tie Lauren McCoy whose 1,538 career points was the most ever scored by a Warrior. Berberabe, who now holds the record with 1,555 points, took over first place in nine less games (123) than the former record holder (132).
“We have had so many incredible Warriors come through this program,” noted Moore. “What stands out to me is that never once has Stef thought about being the all-time leading scorer in Westmont history. She just thinks about how to make her teammates better and how to help us win. I love that this accomplishment is a byproduct of her being about the right things.
“She makes plays when she needs to and makes so much happen. She can score at three levels – shooting from three, pulling up and finishing at the rim. She is just as gritty and impactful on the defensive end of the floor. On the day she became the career scoring leader, she got 12 rebounds as the shortest player on the court. It shows how big her heart is. Her heart can’t be measured by the stats. She’s a Warrior and we have so much ahead of us.”
Berberabe tied the record with a triple from the left side at the 7:20 mark in the first quarter after receiving a pass from Laila Saenz. The 3-pointer – the third of the game for the Warriors with the first two coming from Saenz and Kate Goostrey – made the score 9-0.
Berberabe became the all-time leading scorer off another feed from Saenz. Berberabe faked a three, then drove the lane before pulling up for a 12-foot jumper to make the score 11-5 and recorded her 1,540th point.
The Firestorm made a game of it in the first half, leading 19-17 in the first quarter and 35-32 at the intermission. Saenz, who tallied 20 points on the strength of six of 11 accuracy from beyond the arc, made four of her triples in the first half. The junior guard also had four rebounds and five assists over the course of the game.
“We knew we were going to be facing a variety of different zones today,” said Moore. “So, it was important that we were able to find Laila to knock down shots. She is an incredible shooter with the confidence to do that. She gave us great offensive energy, especially when we needed it in the first half. She was able to keep us in it when we were struggling defensively until we were able to figure out our defense in the second half.”
Westmont took control of the game in the third quarter, outscoring Arizona Christian 24-10. Berberabe and Saenz each scored six points in the penultimate period.
The final frame saw the Warriors put together a 17-4 run in the first seven minutes to take a 24-point lead (73-49. Goostrey tallied seven points during the run while Paula Graichen added six.
Goostrey and Graichen, along with Sage Kramer, each contributed 10 points to the Warriors’ totals. Goostrey also had four steals and three assists. Graichen pulled down seven rebounds and Kramer collected four boards.
“Paula was a huge spark for us off the bench,” said Moore of the 6-4 freshman. “She made a big impact on the offensive boards and her passing was great in our inside-out game. She played with a lot of confidence and presence. It was good to see her stepping up, which is what we are all trying to do right now as we move into the backend of the season.”
With the win, and a 71-68 win by Menlo (14-6, 8-3) over second-place Hope International (15-5, 8-3), the Warriors now sit atop the GSAC standings with a two-game lead over the same two teams. Next week, Westmont will welcome the Mustangs of The Master’s (12-6, 6-5) to Murchison Gymnasium as part of a women’s and men’s doubleheader. The women will tip-off at 5:30 p.m. with the men getting underway at 7:30 p.m.