WBK: Warriors roll in return from long break

Westmont celebrated its return to playing basketball by shooting 67.3 percent from the floor — 76.0 percent in the first half — and rolling to an 86-55 victory over Montana Western on Friday night in Murchison Gymnasium.

It was the Warriors first women’s basketball game in 20 days.

The Warriors (4-3) jumped out to an early 25-4 advantage while keeping the Bulldogs without a field goal for the first seven and one-half minutes. During the opening run, Celina Gougis was four for four from the field and tallied 10 points. Kelsie Sampson was three for three during the same stretch with seven points.

“It is easy to look at our stat sheet and be amazed at how well we shot the ball,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “But what we have talked about as a team proved to be true tonight – which is that our offense stems from our defense.

“Our defense at the start of the game was excellent. We had great energy, we had great communication and we were able to turn stops into scores and get good looks. Once we got momentum going, everything we threw up went in.”

The Warriors’ defensive efforts forced 24 turnovers – including 12 steals – which resulted in 35 points.

“Montana Western is a very good team,” noted Moore. “They just got caught on the wrong side of momentum tonight.”

Sampson, who made 10 of 13 from the floor, ended the night with 21 points and nine rebounds in 23 minutes of play. Gougis, who played for 22 minutes, tallied 15 points while making six of eight from the floor, including three of five from beyond the arc.

“Celina came out super aggressive at the beginning of the game and helped get us going,” said Moore. “Kelsey was the inside presence that we needed. Erin Beadle’s play was outstanding today – seven assists, no turnovers, four steals. Her leadership on the floor and the things she made happen were outstanding.”

Beadle also tallied six points, making all three of her field goal attempts.