WBK: Perfect GSAC season belongs to Westmont

Westmont Women’s Basketball, ranked at number four in the NAIA, completed a perfect regular season in the Golden State Athletic Conference with a 55-49 win over Biola (14-16, 4-10 GSAC). The Warriors improved to 24-3 overall and 14-0 in the GSAC standings.

All-American senior forward Tugce Canitez tallied 22 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Warriors. Kelsie Sampson added 11 points and five rebounds.

Westmont struggled in the first half, making just 27.6 percent of its shots from the floor. At halftime, Biola led 28-19.

With 11 minutes remaining on the game clock, Biola held a 40-30 lead. Over the next seven minutes, Westmont produced an 18-0 run with Canitez accounting for half of those points. Then Biola scored the next six points to make it a two-point game (48-46) with slightly less than two minutes to play.

With 1:32 to remaining, Westmont’s Larissa Hensley (7 points, 4 rebounds, 4 assists, 3 assists) nailed a three-pointer – one of only two the Warriors made during the game – to give Westmont a 51-46 advantage. Biola’s Jamie Elias responded in kind with 27 second remaining to make the score 51-49.

Two free throws each by Esther Lee (6 points) and Hensley, and a steal by Hensley, sealed the win for the Warriors.

In other GSAC action, #7 Vanguard (21-3, 11-3) defeated San Diego Christian (16-14, 8-6) by a score of 76-49 and Concordia (7-20, 5-9) handed Arizona Christian (4-22, 0-14) an 85-74 loss. Eleventh ranked The Master’s (25-4, 10-4) picked up a 67-46 win over Hope International (12-17, 4-10).

As a result, Westmont finished GSAC play with a three-game lead over second place Vanguard. The Master’s placed third, one game behind Vanguard. San Diego Christian is the fourth place team, two games behind The Master’s and three games ahead of Concordia. Biola and Hope International finished tied for sixth place. Arizona Christian finished in eighth.

The first round of the GSAC Tournament will begin on Monday, February 25 with eighth-seeded Arizona Christian playing at fifth-seeded Concordia. Seventh-seeded Hope International will play at sixth-seeded Biola.

On Wednesday, the winner of the Biola-Hope International game will play at third-seeded The Master’s. The Arizona Christian-Concordia winner will travel to El Cajon to take on fourth-seeded San Diego Christian.

On Friday, March 1, top-seeded Westmont will host the winner of the game at San Diego Christian and second-seeded Vanguard will host the winner of the game at The Master’s.

The GSAC finals will be held on Tuesday, March 5. All games are scheduled for 7:30 p.m. except for the championship game, which is schedule for a 5:00 p.m. tip-off at Concordia.