Sampson, Miller earn GSAC honors

Westmont seniors Kelsie Sampson and C.J. Miller have each been selected as the inaugural 2013-14 Golden State Athletic Conference (GSAC) Basketball Players of the Week. Sampson hails from Torrance while Miller calls La Verne his home.

In three games last week, Sampson tallied 70 points (23.3 per game) and 15 rebounds (5.0 per game). Against Dordt (Iowa) on December 31, the 6-1 forward posted a career high 35 points. In 12 games this season, Sampson is averaging 20.3 points and 7.4 rebounds.

“Kelsie has been playing at a high level all year,” said Westmont women’s basketball head coach Kirsten Moore. “She has been consistently able to perform against defenses that are trying to shut her down.

With 920 points in her career, Sampson is on pace to become the eleventh women’s player to reach 1,000 points.

“Every individual award is also a team award,” noted Moore. “Our team is doing a great job of finding her when she is open and Kelsie is stepping up for us and making big plays and making good passes to her teammates. She has been a steady presence that gives us an inside-out threat.”

Miller averaged 21.5 points and 9.0 rebounds per game competing in the 38th Annual Tom Byron Classic last week. Named the tournament MVP, Miller shot 54.8 percent from the floor (17 of 31) including 42.9 percent from beyond the arc (three of seven).

“The reason we are having some success this year is his ability to lead the team on the court,” said Westmont men’s basketball head coach John Moore. “What I was most impressed with in the tournament was his hustle. He played with a relentless will. That will showed itself in the form of offensive rebounds and consistency. He had 22 points and nine rebounds the first night and 21 points and nine rebounds the second night. He played excellent basketball.”

Miller has scored 1,101 points in his Westmont career, which ranks 28th on the all-time scoring list. The 6-7 forward is averaging 17.7 points and 6.9 rebounds per game this year.

Miller is the fourth member of his family to play for the Warriors. His father, Mark, is the second all-time leading scorer (1,671 points). His brother John played from 2006 through 2010 and Lucas played from 2009 through 2012.

“C.J. will be able to boast that he was the first Miller to become MVP of the Tom Byron Tournament,” quipped Moore. Coach Moore was himself the first Tom Byron MVP in 1977 when he and the elder Miller were teammates.

With the turn of the calendar, both Warrior hoop teams are looking forward to conference play. The women’s team (8-4) will next play on Friday night when they host Bethesda in the final non-conference game of the year. Both the men’s team (11-3) and the women’s team will open GSAC play at Biola on Tuesday, January 14