Heglund helps out in big way for Warriors

Senior post player Alisha Heglund scored 20 points and pulled down 14 rebounds as #18 Westmont Women’s Basketball, playing in its first game of the season, defeated Montana-Western 67-57. The Bulldogs fell to 2-3 on the year. The Warriors are playing in the Westminster Tournament in Salt Lake City.


“It was not the smoothest of game from an execution perspective,” said Westmont Head Coach Kirsten Moore. “It definitely looked like a first game, on the road and at altitude. But obviously, I was pleased that we won and that we found a way to get the ball inside to Alisha. She stepped up offensively for us and did a nice job.

ThreePicklesFreeSoda“In the first half in particular, we had a great focus on the boards. Elizabeth Evancoe sparked us with five offensive rebounds and ended with six o-boards. Alisha was a great inside presence for us on the offensive end of the floor.”

Evancoe ended the game with seven points and seven rebounds.

“In our van on the way back to the hotel, Jess Case was telling Alisha that she should have a double-double every game,” reported Moore. “Alisha’s teammates believe in her. When she plays hard and focuses on her rebounding and her presence (under the basket), the points definitely come.

“Defensively we have a lot of work to do,” continued the coach. “We struggled in the second half to get stops and were out-rebounded in the second half. In these early games, we have already seen things we need to work on and improve and our players are committed to continual improvement. It’s nice to learn those things while getting a win.”

The two teams battled to a 13-13 tie at the midway mark of the first half. With 9:20, the Bulldogs Stephanie Dana (15 points, 6 rebounds) made one of two free throws to put Montana Western up by one. The score remained at 14-13 until Kittle landed a shot from beyond the arc with 7:58 left in the first half to spark a 10-0 Warrior run.

“With about six or seven minutes left in the first half, we switched up defenses,” said Moore. “That changed the momentum for us and we were able to hold them scoreless for a while. We needed to do that today because our shooting percentage wasn’t good.”

The first half ended with Westmont in front 28-21. Angel Blanco (6 points, 5 rebounds) got the Warriors off to a good start in the second half with a layup that gave the Warriors a nine point advantage. After two made free throws by Montana-Western’s Nicole Tams (11 points, 6 rebounds), Jessica Case rang up a three-pointer to give Westmont its first double-digit lead of the game (33-23) less than a minute into the second frame

Despite fouling out with 3:11 to play in the game, Case recorded 11 points and six steals for the Warriors.

“We were thinking it might have been more than six steals,” said Moore after the game. “She is trying to make an effort defensively which is part of the reason she is getting in foul trouble. She has a great understanding of the game, so she reads and sees the court well. That is what enables her to get those steals.”

The Warriors took their largest lead of the game with 11:26 showing on the clock. That’s when a layup by Katie Kittle gave Westmont a 47-35 advantage. The Bulldogs cut the lead to eight, but two free throws by Heglund and a layup by Amber Stevens restored the 12-point margin (51-39) with 8:33 remaining.

Kittle recorded 10 points for the Warriors while Stevens tallied seven points, eight assists and five rebounds in 33 minutes of play.

“Amber was really solid for us and we needed her for most of the game,” said Moore. “With three games in a row, it would have been nice if we could have rested her legs. But with Jess fouling out, we needed her on the floor a lot more minutes. She was very consistent and made some great passes for us.”

The Bulldogs made one more surge, outscoring the Warriors 11-4 over the next three minutes and cutting the deficit to just five points (55-50). But Westmont would not allow Montana Western to get any closer.

On Friday, the Warriors are scheduled to take on #23 Carroll (Mont.) beginning at 1:00 p.m. (PDT). Then on Saturday, Westmont will play the tournament host Griffins of Westminster at three o’clock.