Warriors rebound in home opener

Tim Heiduk, Sports Editor

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The No. 8 Westmont women’s basketball team rebounded from a season-opening loss to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps by defeating Northern New Mexico, 85-40, in its home opener on Saturday morning.

Northern New Mexico hit a 3-pointer to take an early 3-0 lead, but it was the Warriors who then put on a 3-point shooting clinic, draining seven triples in the first quarter alone after only making seven in the entire game against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps. Westmont took a commanding 26-7 advantage after the first quarter of play, behind three 3-pointers from Lauren Tsuneishi and two from Taylor Rarick.

The Warriors’ 3-point shooting cooled off in the second quarter, as the team missed all eight of its 3-point attempts in the period. Yet Westmont still outscored Northern New Mexico 11-8 in the quarter to take a 37-15 lead into halftime.

Westmont got its inside game going in the third period, as Gabriella Stoll scored 10 of the team’s first 11 points of the quarter on four field goals and two free throws. Westmont found its stroke back from beyond the arc, shooting two for two from deep, as the Warriors put up 23 points in the third to take a 60-29 lead going into the final quarter.

In the fourth quarter, Westmont scored 25 points, 15 of which came from three-pointers. Maud Ranger scored 10 of her 15 points in the final period, shooting three for four from downtown in the fourth.

Stoll added nine points in the fourth quarter, as she scored 19 of her career-high 20 points in the second half.

Besides Stoll and Ranger, two other Warriors reached double-figures in scoring, including 13 from Tsuneishi and 10 from Rarick. Three others just missed out on double digits, as Iyree Jarrett, Kaitlin Larson, and Stefanie Berberabe all scored nine points.

As a team, Westmont shot 43.8% (14 for 32) from downtown, better than the 41.4% the Warriors shot from the field.

Defensively, Westmont limited Northern New Mexico to 36.8% shooting, including 15.4% from 3-point range. The Warriors won the turnover battle, committing only five turnovers compared to 25 for the Eagles. Westmont converted that to a 32-0 advantage in points off turnovers.

Larson and Ranger tied for the team lead with seven rebounds, while Stoll added six. Ranger also led the Warriors with a career-high six steals. Berberabe and Jarrett each tallied a game-high six assists.

The team returns to the court next Saturday at Cal Lutheran. Tip-off is scheduled for 4:00 p.m. in Thousand Oaks.