WBK: Westmont takes down Azusa

Lauren McCoy notched a double-double and Aimee Brakken lit up the three-point line as #5 Westmont Women’s Basketball (6-1) rallied from a huge deficit to defeat host Azusa Pacific (5-1) on Tuesday night in the Felix Events Center by a score of 71-65.

McCoy tallied 16 points and 13 rebounds to record the ninth double-double of her Westmont career. Brakken put up 15 points – the second highest of her career – and five rebounds.

The Warriors outscored the Cougars 29-10 in the fourth quarter to overcome a 13-point deficit (55-42) at the end of the third.

“In one 40-minute span we saw how terrible we could be and we saw how great we could be,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “At the core of the comeback for us was a fight and a toughness – an attitude that we are going to fight for everything and not give up. Things were not going our way for the majority of the game. But we continued to fight and compete, one possession at a time, and we worked our way back.”

A 15-2 run in the first four and one-half minutes of the final frame tied the score at 57. McCoy accounted for eight of the Warriors’ points during the stretch.

After the Cougars recaptured the lead with a couple of free throws by Cydnie Jones, the Warriors scored the next seven to go up 64-59 with 2:18 to play. Jones scored on a lay-up to draw Azusa Pacific within three before Brakken struck from downtown to put the Warriors up 67-61 with 1:54 remaining. The rest of the scoring by the Warriors came from the free throw line where the Warriors went four for six in the final 35 seconds.

“The third quarter definitely was better than the first half,” said Moore about her team that managed just 20 first half points. “After playing them even in the third quarter, I told the team that we can’t play even with them because of how unfocused we were and what happened in the first half. We couldn’t trade baskets with them. We had to get stops and create turnovers.”

The Warriors allowed the Cougars to score on just five of 19 fourth-quarter possessions and forced eight turnovers in the same span.

“Getting those stops on the defensive end got us going on the offensive end. The toughness and fight in us was modeled in Lauren McCoy in the second half. Things didn’t go her way for most of the game, but she kept at it and kept fighting.”

The Warriors made nine of 13 field goal attempts in the fourth quarter (69.2 percent) including three of four from three-point range.

“Amy played a composed game for us on the offensive end,” said Moore. “She has been practicing great for the last two weeks and has been shooting the lights out. Kayla Sato had really important plays down the stretch and Cora Chan hit a really important three.

“The first half and the fourth quarter couldn’t have been more contrasting,” continued Moore. “You wouldn’t have thought we were the same team. I am really proud of the team for the fight that they showed, but we need to learn from the first half as well.”

The Warriors will take a break for Thanksgiving before resuming the season on December 2 when they travel to California Lutheran for a seven o’clock game.