Westmont clamps down on Menlo, 69-66

ATHERTON – A late offensive draught cost Menlo College in a 69-66 loss to Westmont College on the opening day of the Menlo College Thanksgiving Classic in women’s basketball Saturday afternoon at Haynes-Prim Pavilion.

The Oaks took a 62-61 lead on a pair of free throws by center Leah Manning with three minutes, 18 second to play, but Menlo wouldn’t find the basket again until the final 10 seconds of the game.

Westmont took the lead for good on an Alisha Heglund field goal with just over two minutes left. Menlo went scoreless on its next two trips before the Warriors’ Amber Stevens sunk a pair of free throws for a 65-62 advantage. Annie Johnson added another free throw to put Westmont up by two possessions with 29 seconds left.

Menlo’s Gianna Covarelli and Senoj Jones added last gasp scores around a pair of free throws by Westmont’s Jessica Case, helping to give the Oaks half a chance after Stevens split two free throws with less than a second to play. Menlo’s inbounds pass was knocked away as time ran out.

The undefeated Warriors took control early, taking its biggest lead of the game at 18-4 just five minutes into the first half. Menlo responded with a 17-4 run keyed by Manning and freshman guard Brittany Taylor, who each scored five points during the surge. Neither team led by more than five points the rest of the way.

Menlo took its first lead at 39-38 on a Manning basket three minutes into the second half. The Oaks biggest cushion came after a Covarelli 3-pointer and a Jones basket pushed their lead to 57-52 with seven minutes, 34 second remaining.

Manning scored 19 points and pulled down seven rebounds to lead Menlo. Covarelli and Jones added 11 and 10 points, respectively. Case led Westmont with 19 points while Heglund had 15, Stevens 12, and Ali Lomax 10.

Menlo drops to 1-2 and plays Grand View at 4 p.m. on Sunday to finish the tournament. Westmont is 6-0 and takes on CSU-East Bay at 2 p.m. on Sunday.