INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – The Westmont (Calif.) Warriors didn’t want to end-up a statistic. After seeing one No. 1-seed fall on Wednesday, the team put together an offensive barrage against Huston-Tillotson (Texas) in an 82-47 victory in the first round of the 2016 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship.
Westmont (29-3, 15-1 GSAC) played it’s game from start to finish, including its ever-dangerous 3-point shooting. The Warriors shot 35 percent from behind the arc on Thursday and entered the game ranked No. 2 in the Nation in 3-point shooting (39.4 percent).
Huston-Tillotson (20-7, 13-5 RRAC) looked to come out of the shadow of fellow conference powerhouse, Our Lady of the Lake (Texas), but struggled to keep the big shooting Warriors of the scoreboard. The Lady Rams finished second in the Red River Athletic Conference Tournament as the runner-up to the aforementioned Saints.
Westmont wasted no time in making its presence felt. The Warriors began the game on a 10-2 run as Krissy Carr opened the contest with a 3-pointer. Carr led the team this season with 81 three-balls, which put her eighth in the nation in that category.
The Lady Rams kept it interesting for a while as Ariel Callis put together five of her team’s first seven points. She finished with 17 points to lead her squad.
After building a 25-10 lead heading into the second quarter, Westmont’s offense slowed as the Lady Rams’ defense picked-up. Huston-Tillotson held the high-powered Warrior offense to 15 points, but entered halftime down 40-21.
After the break, Westmont continued its ascent toward its first win of the 2016 Championship Tournament. They outscored the No. 8-seed 42-26 in the final half and shot 50 percent from the floor in the process.
Westmont received its best performance by an underclassman off the bench. Morgan Haskin led all scorers with 19 points. The 6’3” sophomore came off the bench for the Warriors and has not started a game in 2016. Aysia Shellmire and Lauren McCoy joined Haskin in double figures as Shellmire picked-up the lone double-double in the game.
Every player from Westmont that entered on Thursday nabbed points in the contest. In fact, in the first 13 points that the Warriors put on the board, all five of its starters recorded points.
The Warriors also recorded tournament highs in points (82), offensive rebounds (20) and total rebounds (58).
The Lady Rams had two players finish in double digits. Joining Callis was Deandra Darjean, who finished with 11 points.
Westmont will now move on to the second round where it will face Lindsey Wilson (Ky.) on Friday. Tip-off is scheduled for Friday at 8:00 p.m. at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena in Independence, Mo.