Women’s basketball continues form, men split two nailbiters on the road
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Last week, both Westmont men’s and women’s basketball teams traveled up to William Jessup and Menlo in conference play, with the women winning both and the men splitting two close games.
The women’s game on Thursday against William Jessup started off roughly, with the Warriors going down 8-0 in the first quarter, but responded with great energy after a timeout to storm back on a 17-2 run. The Warriors were led in scoring by sophomore Lauren Tsuneishi, who has been on fire from three lately and drained five of them on her way to 17 points. The women’s hot shooting from beyond the arc wasn’t the only reason for their success, though, as their stifling defense held Jessup to 30 points below their average. In the fourth quarter, the women dominated Jessup, holding them to only 5 points in the period. As of their game on Thursday, the women Warriors are third in the NAIA in points allowed at 50.7 per game. The Warriors won by a final score of 58-39.
The men followed the women with a tightly contested game against #18 William Jessup, one that also ended in a victory for the Warriors. The game hung in the balance until the final seconds of the second half, where sophomore Kyle Scalmanini dished the ball to Olisa Nwachie, who proceeded to get fouled 5.7 seconds remaining. Nwachie made one of two free throws to give the Warriors a one-point lead. The men proceeded to prevent Jessup from scoring on its final possession and came away with a close win 75-74. This win was as tough as they come, as neither team could seem to find separation from the either in the second half, with no team going up by more than five points. Nwachie led the team in scoring with 24 points on a very efficient 10-14 from the field.
On Saturday, the Warriors traveled to Menlo for the second half of their northern California road trip. The 14th ranked women Warriors were again lead in scoring by Lauren Tsuneishi, who drained four threes and totaled 14 points on the day. The Warriors found themselves down by two after the first quarter, but returned in the second quarter to take a five-point lead heading into half time. The women took control in the third quarter, outscoring 16th ranked Menlo by 12 in the quarter. With a final score of 57-43, the women’s basketball team now improves to 17-6 overall and 10-3 in GSAC.
When asked about the impact of a successful road trip, Tsuneishi said, “These two wins have been really encouraging to our team. We’ve stringed together some very focused practices. Our plan is to ‘win’ every practice with our effort, talk, and energy.”
The men’s team played after and faced a disciplined Menlo team ready to make a statement at home. The Warriors led by six at half, but found themselves in OT after Menlo scored a tough bucket with 1.8 seconds left. Unfortunately, the Warriors fell in OT by a final score of 91-97. The men are now 13-7 overall, and 7-5 in GSAC. Senior forward Olisa Nwachie again paced the Warriors with 28 points.
Although he was disappointed in the outcome of their second game, he was proud of how his team played. “We grew a lot as a team, and definitely have a positive outlook as we are excited to get back to Murchison Gymnasium for our next home game,” said Nwachie.
Both the men’s and women’s team return to GSAC play this week with their first games coming on Thursday at Life Pacific, and then at home on Saturday against Vanguard.