A 21-point halftime deficit proved to be too much to overcome for the NAIA defending national champions as #13 Westmont Women’s Basketball (20-10) fell 66-53 to #20 Xavier of Louisiana (24-9) in the first round of the 2014 NAIA National Championship.
The Golden Nuggets made 46.2 percent of their shots from the field in the first half and Westmont struggled with Xavier’s full court press and its control of the boards. The Nuggets outrebounded the Warriors 25-13 including 10-2 on the offensive glass. Westmont also committed eight turnovers in the opening frame while Xavier had just two. The result was a 42-21 halftime score.
The opening minutes of the second half evoked hope as the Warriors started off with an 11-0 run. A free throw by Lauren Sende was followed by a three-pointer by Esther Lee. Sampson then scored a field goal and Lee struck again from downtown. Sampson completed the run with another field goal to make the score 42-32.
“I am very proud of the character that this team showed and the way we fought in the second half,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “I thought the things we could control – our effort, our attitude and our mental preparation – were all there.
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