Sophomore post Alisha Heglund recorded 17 points and seven rebounds as Westmont’s women’s basketball team defeated British Columbia, 63-55, at Murchison Gymnasium on Monday.

With just over two minutes to go in the first half, British Columbia posted a nine-point lead (38-29) on a jumper by junior forward Leanne Evans (11 points, five rebounds). That was the last time a Thunderbirds forward scored in the game. Westmont (8-2) employed a stingy defense to close down the inside passing lanes, limiting British Columbia (17-4) to just 17 points over the next 22 minutes of play.

After Evans’ jumper, junior Annie Johnson (seven points) drained a three-pointer to cut the margin to 38-32 with 1:51 remaining on the first-half clock. Amber Stevens (13 points, six assists, five rebounds, five steals) came up with a steal and Johnson scored on a jumper on the ensuing possession to produce a 38-34 half-time score.

“Amber was incredible in the first half,” Westmont head coach Kirsten McKnight said. “She stepped up and fought for us. That gave us the opportunity to have a great second half and play better team basketball.”

Stevens recorded 10 points, five assists, four steals and two rebounds in the first half alone.

“Our defense in the second half won the game for us, creating turnovers and making defensive stops against a taller and more experienced team,” McKnight said.

Westmont briefly took the lead with 14:33 to play on a three-pointer by sophomore guard Jessica Case (10 points, four rebounds) and then battled with British Columbia to a 52-52 tie at the eight-minute mark. Back-to-back jumpers by Heglund gave Westmont a 56-52 advantage with just under seven minutes remaining.

Neither team scored for nearly three and and a half minutes, a stretch that saw the Thunderbirds commit four turnovers and the Warriors three. Junior Ali Mooty (10 points, five rebounds), playing in just her second game after returning from an injury, made two free throws with 3:34 showing on the clock, putting Westmont up, 58-52.

British Columbia brought the ball up the court and Devan Lisson scored from beyond the arc to close to within three points (58-55) with 3:06 to play, but those would prove to be the last of the Thunderbirds’ points in the game.

Ron Smith is Westmont College‘s sports information director.