WBK: Warriors take on UCLA in exhibition opener

As a warm up for the upcoming 2014-15 women’s basketball season, Westmont traveled to Westwood to take on a little PAC-12 team called the Bruins in an exhibition.

Little, they were not. On average, UCLA, which won the game 92-54, featured players three inches taller than the Warriors.

However, early season exhibition games are not about wins and losses. These games are about getting to see what your team looks in a competitive environment – which is exactly what head coach Kirsten Moore got to do.

“I think there was a lot of good take-aways from today,” said the veteran coach who is entering her 10th year at the helm. “I thought we competed and scrapped and fought a lot better in the second half after having eyes wide open in the first half.

“Lauren McCoy was a huge highlight for us today. She competed every opportunity she had and was able to get it done on the boards with 13 rebounds. She had 14 points and was able to get to the free throw line. It’s fun to have a freshman go out there and do that.”

McCoy, a 6-0 freshman forward, was three of eight from the field and made eight of 12 free throw attempts to lead the Warriors in scoring.

Sophomore forward Aysia Shellmire notched nine points for the Warriors making two of four from the field and five of eight from the charity stripe. Senior Guard Celina Gougis added eight points while guard Kristin Karr, a junior transfer added seven.

The Warriors were simply out-sized on the boards. UCLA posted a 61-42 rebound advantage with 31 of their boards coming on the offensive glass. UCLA scored a total of 20 second chance points.

“We were obviously playing against bigger, stronger players,” said Moore, “but we can take a lot from the presence that UCLA had on the boards. That is what we need to try and bring to games as we head up to Oregon to play countable games next week. Hopefully we can take a page from their book and exert that kind of physical play on the boards.”

Westmont officially opens the season on Friday when they play in Salem, Oregon against Corban. On Saturday, Westmont will visit Warner Pacific (Ore.) in Portland. Sunday, Westmont will play a second exhibition game against another PAC-12 opponent, taking on Moore’s alma mater, Oregon. Monday, the Warriors will stay in Eugene to take on Northwest Christian.