Warrior women come all the way back, fall just short

Make that two straight two-point losses to Vanguard.

The No. 21 Westmont women’s basketball team was in a 20-point hole with 11 minutes to play against the No. 9 Lions at Murchison Gym on Tuesday and climbed almost all the way back. The Warriors had the ball out of bounds near half-court and a shot to tie or win with 1.3 seconds to play but the pass was broken up, leaving the visiting Lions with a 64-62 win.

In their last meeting, Vanguard (8-3, 4-1 GSAC) ended Westmont’s season in the GSAC Tournament title game.

Katie Kittle had 15 points and Vanessa Farias chipped in 12 for Westmont, which won the battle of the boards 38-32 but turned the ball over 17 times to Vanguard’s 11. Westmont trailed 33-28 at halftime, having scored most of its points on 3-pointers, making six of 14 before the intermission with three makes coming from Farias.


“They play in a half-court trap that’s gonna force you to take some shots out on the perimeter,” said coach Kirsten Moore.

The young Warriors (10-3, 2-3 GSAC), who had won three straight heading into the game, were also playing without starting point guard Larissa Hensley for the first time this year due to a right ankle injury.

“I think Erin (Beadle) did a good job at the point for us, but we were missing our starting point guard tonight, and I think that hurt us too, just being out of rhythm,” said Moore.

Westmont had a 21-17 lead after a Kittle trey with 7:30 left in the first half, but the Lions went on a 16-2 run to take a 33-23 edge with 90 seconds on the clock. A 3-pointer by Beadle and a make in the post by Tawny McCain with five ticks left cut the Vanguard lead to five heading into the intermission.

Vanguard’s Chelsea Alfafara sank all four of her 3-point attempts in the first nine minutes of the second quarter and Westmont found itself down 56-36 with 11 minutes to go. Alfafara finished with 16 points while forward Molly Pfohl had a game-high 18. Sarah Boyd swiped eight steals.

A baseline jumper by Angel Blanco stopped the bleeding and started the comeback for the Warriors, who started patrolling the boards and sharp-shooting their way within four at 62-58 with just under a minute to play.

Vanguard’s Trisha Goddard knocked down a pair from the charity stripe to push the lead to six, but Kittle fired back with a baseline trey with 26 ticks to go. Westmont intentionally fouled and Vanguard missed the front end of a one-and-one with 25 seconds left and Farias was fouled, making one of two at the line. Westmont fouled again and Vanguard missed its freebie once again to give the hosts the ball woth 12.3 seconds on the clock. Kittle had the ball but was tied up, prompting Moore to call timeout with 1.3 seconds left. Westmont couldn’t get it in cleanly and the buzzer sounded.

“It was a great comeback, and I think it showed the character of our team to believe that we could win. Most of this game, we didn’t play anywhere close to as well as we’ve been playing… I think if we would’ve played our game we would have won, so it’s frustrating,” said Moore.

The Warriors face another stiff challenge on Saturday at No. 8 Azusa Pacific.