WBK: Red-hot Thunderbirds defeat Westmont

Sophomore guard Esther Lee drilled five three-point buckets on her way to 20 points and Kelsie Sampson scored 21, but it wasn’t enough as the Thunderbirds of British Columbia posted a 68-56 win over eighth-ranked Westmont Women’s Basketball (8-4) on Thursday afternoon in Murchison Gymnasium.

The Warriors were held to just 28.0 percent shooting in the second half and 37.7 percent for the game. The Thunderbirds shot 50.9 percent over the scope of the contest.

“UBC is a really good team and it was good for us to play them in preparation for the upcoming GSAC (Golden State Athletic Conference) season,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “It showed us some things we can continue to get better at. (After) every loss we have had this year, we have improved. That is my goal from today.”

With the Warriors leading 18-17 midway through the first half, the Thunderbirds went on a 15-3 run to go up 32-21 with 3:19 to play. Lee responded with a three-point field goal with three minutes remaining in the opening frame and was fouled on the shot. Her four-point play was followed by a jumper by Sampson and another three by Lee to reduce the deficit to just two points (32-30).

British Columbia scored the next four points on buckets by Maggie Sundberg and Andrea Strujiac, but Sampson responded with a layup to make the score 36-32 at intermission.

Twice, Westmont cut the lead to two in the early going of the second half. A layup by Sampson made it 36-34 a minute and one-half into the second period. A jumper by Celina Gougis with 16:51 to play made it 38-36.

The Thunderbirds, however, went on a 12-3 run to take a 50-39 lead from which the Warriors never recovered.