Warriors bend to Biola’s second-half binge

Katie Kittle drives hard and goes up for two points agains Biola.

Vanessa Farias moves the ball up the court for Westmont.

A strong first half didn’t pan out for Westmont women’s basketball team on Tuesday, as the Warriors fell 61-51 to No. 6 Biola on Tuesday.

The Warriors took a 25-18 lead into the halftime break, but Biola found another level in the second half and outscored Westmont 43-26.

“It was a frustrating game for us in the fact that we played really, really well in the first half,” said Warriors head coach Kirsten Moore.

Biola’s defense was stifling, its offense effective and the Eagles cleaned up the boards on both ends of the floor.

The defense was especially needlesome for the Warriors, as Biola limited Westmont to 24-percent shooting the entire night.

“They’re just a very physical, very aggressive team and that ended up hurting us in the end,” Moore said.

Jessilyn Conicelli led all scorers with 22 points on 10-of-16 shooting and added 14 rebounds. Fourteen of her points came in the second half.

Biola, 17-3 overall, improves to 9-2 in GSAC play while Westmont falls to 6-5. The Eagles are about to play a string of the conference’s top teams, starting with the No. 22 Warrriors.

“Any win, especially a win on the road, is really just a good thing,” said Eagles head coach Ken Crawford.

Biola drew even at 34-34 with 11:51 left in the second half. A layup by Angel Blanco put Westmont back in front 36-34 but Biola quickly answered and took the lead for good on a Emily Drews jump shot with 9:52 on the clock.

Katie Kittle was Westmont’s scoring leader with 13. Lisa Peterson converted 7-of-7 free throw attempts and finished with 11 points and matched Blanco with a team-high nine rebounds.

The Warriors travel to Point Loma Nazarene on Saturday before coming home to host No. 5 California Baptist the next Thursday.