Warriors Victorious in Season Opener

Submitted by: Kaci Mexico - October 31st, 2015

 

Kayla Sato

Kayla Sato

By Kaci Mexico

October 30, 2015

Coming off of a semifinal appearance in the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Tournament, Westmont exhibited both the continued strength of their program and the immense potential of this year’s team when they defeated Oregon Tech 68-52 in today’s season opener.

“We knew for our first game that we were playing a good veteran team,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “They went to the national tournament for the NAIA Division II last year and they have nine players returning from that team. On top of this experience, they were going to come here and see us as a great opportunity because of the fact that we have had a history of success as well. We knew this was going to be a good test from the start.”

The Warriors were quick to act and scored the first five points of the game within the first two minutes. Lauren McCoy scored first on a layup following the tip-off. Two minutes later McCoy passed to Shellmire who was fouled on her successful layup and who then converted the resulting free throw.

Throughout the game the Warriors gradually increased their lead with consistent shooting success. They had a shooting percentage of 42.6, while the Owls had a percentage of 31.3.

In the final period, with just under eight minutes left, the Warriors went on a 7-0 run to make it a 23 point game (68-45). This run gave the Warriors a more secure lead, a lead they maintained until the end of the game.

Freshman Kayla Sato made a noticeable debut in her first collegiate basketball game – she was the team’s leading scorer with 18 points.

“Kayla is a really dynamic player and she’s very talented,” explained Moore. “We are holding her to very high expectations and she is responding very well. It was exciting to see her go out and do a lot of really good things out there tonight.”

Krissy Karr, Aysia Shellmire, and Lauren McCoy are returning starters from last year’s season. Each of them made a considerable impact in today’s game.

“Our three returning starters were each on the All-GSAC team last year and I think that their presence gives us stability and composure out there,” noted Moore. “They have of a lot of experience having accomplished some pretty big things last year.”

Karr scored a total of 17 points, 15 of which were from three point shots. She is responsible for making half of the team’s 10 three-pointers. The Warrior’s three point shooting percentage was 43.5.

Sophomore Lauren McCoy and junior Aysia Shellmire lead the team defensively with nine and seven rebounds respectively.

“We have really been focusing on our defense and the importance of being better defensively than we were last year,” said Moore. “I think that our intent defensively tonight was really good. When we started the game we were really able to set the tone with our defense. I saw some good stuff out there and I think that this first game was a good way to start out the season.”

In a quick turn-around, the Warriors will host Bethesda this coming Monday at 7:00 p.m.