Eagles’ Strong Second Half Does in Warriors

Submitted by: Ron Smith - January 26th, 2011


Katie Kittle led the Warriros with 13 points.

In a battle of top-25 teams, #22 Westmont Women’s Basketball came up short against sixth-ranked Biola, falling 61-51. The Warriors held the Eagles to just 18 points in the first half and led 25-18, but Biola outpaced Westmont 43-26 after the intermission to claim the Golden State Athletic Conference victory. Westmont falls to 14-5 overall and 6-5 in conference play, while Biola improves to 17-3 overall and 9-2 in the GSAC.

“Biola is a really tough team,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “We played well defensively in the first half and made them work for everything. We knew that they were ranked number six for a reason and they were going to come out strong in the second half. They did just that. Unfortunately, we weren’t able to match their intensity, their effort and their physicality on the boards tonight.”

The game began to turn on a series of three-point buckets in the second half. With the Warriors up 31-24, Biola’s Emily Drews (14 points, 6 rebounds) drained a three-pointer to cut the margin to four (31-27) with just under 15 minutes to play. Westmont’s Vanessa Farias (3 points, 3 rebounds) answered back with a three of her own on the Warriors’ next possession. But Drews struck again from beyond the arc and Lauren Gustafson (8 points, 4 assists, 3 rebounds) found her long distance range to pull the Eagles to within one (34-33).

The Eagles caught the Warriors at 34-all on a free throw by Jennifer French (3 points, 8 rebounds) before an Angel Blanco (8 points, 9 rebounds) layup returned the lead to the Warriors (36-34) with 11:29 left on the clock. It would prove to be the last lead of the night for Westmont.

Biola scored the next six points to go ahead 40-36. Elizabeth Evancoe (5 points) made it a one-point game by striking from three-point range with 8:47 to play, However, Biola began pulling away, eventually reaching a double-digit advantage (54-43) and their largest lead of the night on a layup by Jessilyn Conicelli (22 points, 14 rebounds) with 1:41 remaining in the game.

“We have a lot to work on offensively,” said Moore after the game. “I definitely credit Biola’s defense. They lead the GSAC in defense. But we need to do a better job of setting screens, making harder cuts and using better shot selection. We will keep working on those things. The important thing for us is to stay focused and encouraged about our effort and our energy and the intensity with which we play.”

The Warriors were led in scoring by Katie Kittle with 13 points and four rebounds. Lisa Peterson added 11 points and nine rebounds.

In other GSAC action on Tuesday, #5 California Baptist (17-4, 10-1 GSAC) defeated the visiting Sea Lions of Point Loma Nazarene (9-9, 4-6) by a score of 77-57. Seventh-ranked Azusa Pacific (17-4, 9-2) took to the road to claim a 75-43 win over Fresno Pacific (7-14, 0-11). Concordia (10-6, 5-5) snatched a 71-57 home victory from #12 Vanguard (11-6, 7-4) and The Master’s 13-7, 6-5) defended its home court with a 65-53 win over Hope International (10-11, 2-9 GSAC)..

At 10-1, California Baptist sits atop the conference standing, one game ahead of both Biola and Azusa Pacific. Two more games back is Vanguard which is one game ahead of both Westmont and The Master’s.

Westmont returns to action on Saturday when they travel to San Diego to take on the Sea Lions of Point Loma Nazarene.

[box score]