Women’s basketball wins National Championship

The+womens+basketball+team+won+the+NAIA+National+Championships+for+the+second+time+in+program+history.

Tim Tushla

The women’s basketball team won the NAIA National Championships for the second time in program history.

Mireille Minassian, Staff Writer

Westmont women’s basketball, ranked as the number two seed in the tournament, won the NAIA National Championships for the second time in program history. The Warriors faced top-seated Thomas More University from Kentucky and won with a final score of 72-61. 

The Warriors displayed a phenomenal effort throughout the tournament held in Sioux City, Iowa. The team had a bye for the first round on Friday, March 12, when they first arrived in town. For round two, the Warriors faced Montana Western, where they dominated and came out on top with a score of 97-62. After the opening round games, the Warriors flew through the remaining rounds of the tournament, defeating Lyon College 66-60, Clarke University 90-68, and Indiana Wesleyan 74-65.

Third-year guard Stefanie Berberabe said, “Going into the championship game, we were all excited! First of all, we were just so grateful to even be able to play and travel here to the national tournament because our team made a lot of sacrifices to be [COVID-19] free this whole season.” The women’s basketball team is the only Westmont sports team to have remained healthy, without a single case of COVID-19 this whole season, which has allowed them to stay on top of practices and team meetings.

The National Championship game was held on Tuesday, March 23, at 7:00 p.m. CDT. Though Thomas More came out with a bang, performing well from beyond the arc throughout the game, the Warriors responded well by contesting every shot and playing tight defense. By the first half, the Warriors had shaken off any rust, ending the half up by six. 

When asked about the team’s successes, Berberabe said, “I feel like our team does the extra things that don’t show up on the stat sheet and we could count on each other for whatever needed. We really attacked and responded well to when the other team had their runs.” 

Berberabe had a phenomenal performance throughout the tournament and kept it up throughout the final game, scoring 23 points. 

Similarly, third-year guard Iyree Jarrett scored 23 points and was crafty with the ball, always finding the open man. Fourth-year guard Lauren Tsuneishi also had a great performance, scoring 14 points with four threes from beyond the arc. Third-year Kaitlin Larson was a great help, collecting 13 rebounds, as third-year Gabriella Stoll collected seven rebounds and nine points. The great team effort allowed for the Warriors to come out on top winning by 11 points.

When asked how the team was going to celebrate, Jarrett said, “We will be celebrating by taking a team trip to LA to get boba! We also got to celebrate the National Championship and Coach Moore’s birthday with cake and pizza after the game!” 

The Westmont community is very proud of our Warriors, who have been an example of sacrifice and determination this whole season. Go Warriors!

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