SANTA BARBARA, Calif. -- Westmont women's basketball (7-3) posted its fourth win in a row with a 63-46 victory over UC Merced (1-8) on the opening day of the Westmont Holiday Classic.
"We had a rusty start and a rusty game overall," acknowledged Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore.
With 12:15 remaining on the first half clock and the score at 10-7 in favor of the Warriors, Moore made her first substitution, asking all five starters to yield the floor to all five reserves - Aimee Brakken, Natalie Florescu, Aysia Shellmire, Cora Chan and Karlie Storkson. The reserves played solid defense for the next five minutes, outscoring the Bobcats 13-1.
"They were able to establish a lead for us that we didn't relinquish the rest of the game," noted Moore. "On a night when we struggled to put the ball in the basket, it was really important to get some spurts defensively."
Westmont held UC Merced to 23.5 percent shooting (8 of 34) in the first half while making 46.4 percent of their own attempts (13 of 28). At the intermission, the Warriors had doubled up the Bobcats 40-20.
Senior forward Kelsie Sampson led the Warriors in scoring with 14 points, she also had four rebounds. Celina Gougis added 12 points and nine boards while Lauren Sende notched 8 points and 10 rebounds. Aysia Shellmire added 7 points and a team-high 14 rebounds.
The Bobcats were led by Shelby Howard who contributed 14 points and four rebounds. Alexis Wu added another 8 points and three assists.
In the early game of the Holiday Classic, Dordt of Iowa (8-6) overcame a 32-29 halftime deficit to defeat San Diego Christian (7-3) by a score of 71-61.
Senior forward Kara Van Dyke led Dordt in scoring with 16 points. Senior guard Kayla Broekhuis and sophomore guard Abby Chapman combined to make eight of 10 attempts from beyond the arc while tallying 14 points each.
The Hawks were led in scoring by senior guards Chardonnay Shula and Heather Serven, each of whom tallied 13 points. Shula also had four rebounds and six assists.
Dordt will take on Westmont at 5:30 p.m. tomorrow in the Holiday Classic finale. At 1:00 p.m., UC Merced will face San Diego Christian.