WBK: Warriors handle No. 11 Mustangs

The eleventh ranked Mustangs of The Master’s College strolled into Murchison Gymnasium on Tuesday night with only three losses against 22 wins. However, The Master’s women’s basketball team could not keep up with the likes of Esther Lee and Tugce Canitez and left Westmont’s gym with their fourth loss of the year, and the second to the Warriors.

Westmont (21-3, 11-0 GSAC), ranked sixth in the NAIA, claimed the Golden State Athletic Conference game by a margin of 77-66 behind 28 points and 13 rebounds from Canitez and 25 points by Lee. Lee connected on seven of nine attempts from beyond the arc, including all four attempts in the first half.

Canitez, who earlier today was named the NAIA Player of the Week for the third time this season, made eight of 13 attempts from the floor and drilled 11 of 12 from the charity stripe. She also had three steals, two assists and two blocks.

As a team, the Warriors shot 61.7 percent from the floor (29 of 47) including 66.7 percent from three-point distance (8 of 12). The Mustangs were held to 38.7 percent shooting, though they helped themselves at the free throw line by making 16 of 18 attempts (88.9%).

The visitors led for most of the first half. However, in the final eight minutes, Westmont outscored the The Master’s 25-10 to take a 43-33 lead into the locker room. Westmont led by no less than eight points throughout the second half and with 3:44 to go, reached a 20-point advantage (77-57).

The Master’s was led in scoring and rebounding by Jacquelyn Marshall who tallied 17 points and 10 rebounds. Lena Rivera notched 14 points while Kelly Burns added 12.

With three games to go in the GSAC regular season, Westmont holds a two-game advantage over Vanguard (18-2, 9-2) and a four-game lead over The Master’s and San Diego Christian (22-4, 7-4) who are tied for third.

As a result of tonight’s win, Westmont has guaranteed itself a bye in both the first and second round of the upcoming GSAC Tournament. Westmont needs just one more win to assure itself the top seed. The Warriors will open GSAC Tournament play in the semifinals at home on Friday, March 1 against an opponent to be determined.

Before all that happens, however, the Warriors have three more regular season games to play. On Saturday, February 16, Westmont will host its final regular season game, taking on the Firestorm of Arizona Christian (4-19, 0-11). Tip-off is scheduled for 5:30 p.m., but fans are encouraged to arrive a few minutes early and join in honoring the Warrior seniors.