WBK: Sampson leads Warriors past Biola

Junior forward Kelsie Sampson posted 18 points and pulled down eight rebounds to help No. 12 Westmont earn a 78-51 women’s basketball win over Biola on opening night of Golden State Athletic Conference play. Sampson connected on eight of 12 attempts from the floor.

“This was a great way to start the GSAC,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore, “Kelsey has learned how to step up in a new way — being a presence in the paint. She is starting to really show her abilities because of the intensity she is playing with. She plays with a lot of heart and we are at our best when she is doing that.”

Three other Warriors also scored in double figures. Tugce Canitez added 17 points and five rebounds while sophomore guard Esther Lee went four from six from three-point range on her way to a 14-point night. Sophomore guard Celina Gougis made her way to the rim, scoring on five of seven attempts to contribute 11 points and three rebounds to the Warriors’ cause.

The Warriors (10-3) jumped out to a 23-6 lead to start the game and never allowed the Eagles to get closer than 15 points the rest of the way. At halftime, Westmont held a 39-13 lead.

Biola (9-7) was led by Adijat Adams who scored 20 points. Adams saw just 16 minutes of play due to foul trouble in both halves.

The Warriors made 57.1 percent of their shots from the floor (32 of 56) while holding the Eagles to just 29.6 percent (16 of 54).

After struggling in the final week of 2012 against fourth-ranked Westminster and No. 6 Oklahoma City, the Warriors have shown marked improvement in their last two games.

“This team has a lot to prove,” said Moore. “We really don’t want to miss another opportunity to be our best. It has really raised our level of intensity in practice and our purpose about what we trying to do and to accomplish. I think you saw a lot of that on the court tonight. I am really proud of the toughness and the aggressiveness that our team played with. We want to continue to build on that.”

In other GSAC women’s basketball games, No. 3 Vanguard (10-0) defeated the visiting Hawks of San Diego Christian (8-9) by a score of 56-50. Concordia (3-10) posted an 83-68 win over Arizona Christian (4-9) and The Master’s (14-0) defended its home court with a 94-47 win over Hope International (8-8).