Freshman guard Cora Chan led the Warriors in scoring with 16 points off the bench as #11 Westmont Women's Basketball (20-8) advanced to the semifinals of the Golden State Athletic Conference Tournament with a 70-56 win over Concordia (12-15, 5-10). The Warriors will take on #7 The Master's at 7:00 p.m. in Santa Clarita on Friday.
"It was an incredibly physical basketball game," noted Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. "We had times were the style of play took us out of what we were used to doing. But I was proud of the fact that we were able to regroup and stay composed when there were a lot of fouls in this game. We were able to get to the free throw line and get points on the board that way."
Though the fans cried for more throughout the game, a total of 50 fouls were called - 30 on the visitors and 20 on the home team. The Warriors got to the free throw line 43 times and made 32 of their attempts accounting for 45.7 percent of their total score. Concordia made six of 13 attempts from the charity stripe.
Westmont won the battle of the board 48-44, but Concordia collected 19 offensive rebounds to Westmont's 10. Senior forward Kelsie Sampson snatched a career high19 rebounds to go with 12 points and six blocked shots. Despite the physical nature of the game, Sampson kept out of foul trouble and played all but two minutes of the game.
Chan went four for four from the field and made eight of 10 free throw attempts as part of a 34-point contribution from the Warrior bench. Freshman forward Aysia Shellmire tallied six points, six rebounds and two blocks while sophomore guard Karlie Storkson added another six points.
"We had huge play from our bench tonight," said Moore. "Cora was such a spark for us all night and Aysia did a great job inside. As we head into postseason play, we need to be a team that has depth and has people coming off the bench and playing with confidence."
Among the starters, Celina Gougis produced 14 points and three rebounds, making four of six field goal attempts - including two of three from beyond the arc - and four of five free throws.
Concordia was led by Ashley Ellis with 14 points while Gaby Johnson added 13 points and six rebounds. Brittany Stafford, who notched seven points, collected 15 rebounds.
Neither team had more than a three point lead until a jumper by Sampson put the Warriors up 21-16 with 5:22 remaining on the first-half clock. Concordia's Ashley Engeln immediately responded with a three-pointer, but Chan countered with a jumper and a layup and Lauren Sende added a free throw to put the Warriors up 26-19 with 3:51 left before intermission.
Up 26-22 with less than a minute in the first half, Erin Beadle (6 points, 5 rebounds) started a 6-0 Warrior run with two free throws. Sampson added two more from the charity stripe and Aimee Brakken hit a jumper at the buzzer to give the Warriors a 10-point (32-22) lead at halftime.
With the Warriors up 47-33 and 12:00 minutes left in second half play, Concordia mounted a 13-2 run to pull within three points 49-46. The Warriors, however, reversed the trend and scored the next 15 points, culminating with a three-point bucket by Storkson. As a result, Westmont possessed a 64-46 lead with 2:24 remaining.
"Concordia played really hard tonight and gave us a great run for our money," acknowledged Moore. "I was glad we were able to keep with it and come up with the victory."
In other GSAC Tournament action, #1 Vanguard posted a 100-51 win over Arizona Christian and will host #17 Hope International in the other semifinal on Friday. Hope International advanced by virtue of a 77-65 win over Biola. The Master's earned its spot in the semifinals with a 77-50 win over San Diego Christian.
The finals are set for 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, March 11 at a site to be determined.