WBK: One-point loss is Westmont’s first

Westmont Women’s Basketball suffered its first loss of the 2012-13 season on Friday night as the Warriors fell 49-48 to the Regals of California Lutheran (4-1). The Warriors (7-1) got points from just four players in the defensive battle.

Sophomore guard Esther Lee led the Warriors in scoring with 15 points – all in the first half. For the third game in a row, Lee connected on five three-pointers, going 15 for 26 over that span (.577).

“We struggled to score and get anything going offensively,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “Esther’s five threes were the only reason we were able to be in it offensively in the first half. They deserve a lot of credit for defending us and taking us out of our offense. We will look at some of the things they did and find ways to be better.”

Sophomore guard Celina Gougis went five for ten from the field, tallying 12 points and eight rebounds for the Warriors. Larissa Hensley added 11 points, four rebounds and three assists, making four of six from the field including three of four from beyond the arc. Senior forward Tugce Canitez also scored in double figures posting 10 points and six rebounds.

While the Warriors made nine of 22 attempts (40.9%) from three-point range, the Warriors struggled with the inside game, making just seven of 22 attempts from within the arc (31.8%).

“We were limited in our ability to put the ball in the basket,” noted Moore. “We need to have more people step up, especially when they were focusing on Tugce as much as they were tonight.

“Celina stepped up in the second half and that led our comeback. She took advantage of the opportunities as they doubled up on Tugce. We are still young in that we have new people in those roles. We have people who are capable of stepping up and tonight can help us take a step forward in our ability to do that in our future.”

Leading 9-8 five minutes into the first half, the Regals put together a 16-3 run to go up 25-11 with 9:25 to play in the opening frame. The Warriors responded with an 11-0 run consisting of two three-points by Lee, and a three-pointer and two-pointer by Hensley.

After a layup by California Lutheran’s Rachel Heagy with 4:28 to play, both teams went cold the rest of the half. A three-pointer by Gougis produced the only points scored the rest of the half, making the score at intermission 27-25 in favor of the Regals.

Canitez tied the score at 27 just over a minute into the second half and the score remained close for the next three minutes. With the game tied at 31, the Regals’ Keely Anderson landed a shot from beyond the arc and Starla Wright scored three on an ‘and-one’ play to put California Lutheran up 37-31 with 15 minutes to play.

Hensley hit another three to cut the Regals’ advantage in half, but Erica Whitely followed suit, making the score 40-34 in favor of the home team. One and one-half minutes later, Wright added a layup, putting California Lutheran up 44-36 with 10:27 remaining in the second half.

Two minutes later, Gougis scored on a layup before Whitely did the same, thereby maintaining an eight point differential for California Lutheran. With 7:08 to play, Hensley hit a three. Then Gouguis followed up a jumper with a layup to pull the Warriors to within one (46-45) with 6:02 remaining. A free throw by Canitez tied the score at 46 before Whitely made a free throw making it 47-46.

With 4:02 remaining in the contest, Gougis scored again on a layup, giving Westmont its first lead (48-47) in exactly 34 minutes of play. However, the lead last just 31 seconds before Heagy scored on a layup making it 49-48 in favor of California Lutheran. As is turned out, that score would be the final as neither team could put the ball through the hoop in the last three and one-half minutes.

The Warriors will take a break from competition for finals, and then return to the court on Friday, December 14 when they host William Jessup.”