WBK: Sampson, Lee earn NAIA All-American honors

Westmont’s Kelsie Sampson and Esther Lee have been honored as NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball All-American’s. Sampson was one of 10 individuals named to the first team while Lee was named to the second team. Westmont is one of only four institutions to have two athletes selected for the NAIA All-America teams.

“It is a big honor for both of them to be selected as NAIA All-Americans,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “Not only does it show that they have produced and competed at a high level, but it shows that our program has established itself in the top echelon of the NAIA. People are seeing what our players are capable of doing. Individuals get honored when teams have success.

“Kelsie and Esther led us in what we were able to do on the court. They gave us and inside-out threat that gave us balance. Kelsie established herself as a post player that couldn’t be guarded one-on-one. That opened up perimeter opportunities for her teammates.”

Sampson averaged 20.03 points per game, which was 10th best in Division I. The Torrance native re-wrote many of the Warrior records. In single season records, she is the new leader in field goals made with 240 this season. Her 601 points scored during the 2013-14 campaign ranks third all time. Sampson’s 41 blocked shots are second only to the record she set last year of 43. Sampson’s 254 boards this season places her name fourth among Warrior rebounders.

In career totals, Sampson finished fifth in scoring with 1,277 points and leads all Warriors in field goals made at 528. Her 636 career rebounds ranks fourth and she sits atop the career block shot list with 116.

“Kelsie dominated games,” asserted Moore. “She changed games with how she played. Teams couldn’t guard her one-on-one. Teams tried to take away her left hand this year, but she had worked hard in the offseason and was really good finishing to her right. She showed a lot of maturity this year in her understanding of the game and tempo and flow and knowing when to take shots and when to kick it out. She is only the second player we have had in our program that was a first team All-American and her play all year showed why.”

Two weeks ago, Sampson was also named an NAIA All-American by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association.

“Esther was an unknown last year, but this year she was very well known,” explained Moore. “Everyone we played knew how deadly of a shooter she was. Teams were all over her and she had very few open looks all year. Yet, she was able to capitalize on the opportunities she had and stretch defenses with how much attention teams had to give to her.

“During the year she progressed from just looking only for her three-point shot to creating off the dribble and finding other ways for her and her teammates to score.”

Lee, who hails from Los Angeles, made her mark from the three-point line, finishing third in the NAIA Division I with 3.07 three-pointers made per game. Her 92 long-range field goals was the sixth most in the NAIA this year and the second most made in Warrior history.

Lee’s 13.3 points per game ranked 11th in the Golden State Athletic Conference in scoring average and her 41.4 career three-point percentage (180 of 435) is fourth best in the Warrior record book. Lee’s 49 of 52 made free throws this season ranks first in single season free throw percentage at 94.2.