MONTECITO, Calif. - Westmont Women's Basketball (5-0, 1-0 GSAC), ranked second in the NAIA, posted an 81-53 win over Arizona Christian (1-3, 0-1) in the Golden State Athletic Conference opener on Thursday night in Murchison Gymnasium.
Stefanie Berberabe notched the fourth triple-double in program history, recording 11 points, 13 rebounds and 12 assists. She also had five steals. Berberabe is the only Warrior to have recorded two triple-doubles in her career. The first came in the quarterfinals of the 2022 GSAC Championship when she tallied 12 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists against San Diego Christian.
"Stef was all over the court on both ends," said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. "A triple-double and five steals as well. She is such a special player that leads our team not just in her stats but most importantly with her heart, passion and grit.
"In a game where we were struggling to finish, our effort on the boards was essential. I thought Sydney Brown and Stef Berberabe really led our effort there on both ends…both with double-digit rebounding. Sydney really finished well inside for us too."
Brown produced a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds by going seven of nine from the field, including one from long distance.
Both teams came out strong in the first quarter with Westmont's first 15 points all coming from behind the arc. Kate Goostrey started the long distance bombardment for the Warriors with an opening salvo. Then Laila Saenz scored the Warriors' next 12 points on four triples.
In the game, the Warriors drilled 14 shots from 3-point range – six by Saenz and three by Isabella Pearson. Saenz made six of 11 attempts from long distance on her way to a game-high 22 points. She also notched three steals. Pearson made all three of her 3-point attempts to total nine points.
The first quarter ended with the Warriors holding on to a narrow one-point lead (19-18). In the second frame, the lead would change hands eight times before Westmont took control. Down 31-29 with three minutes remaining before the intermission, Westmont produced a 13-3 run.
Layups by Brown and Aleena Cook (8 points, 5 rebounds) started the run. Brown then scored on a jumper and Cook made another layup to make the score 37-31. Then Pearson connected for her first three and Berberabe scored on a layup at the buzzer to give Westmont a 42-34 advantage headed to the locker room.
The third quarter belonged to the Warriors who outscored the Firestorm 22-8. Westmont led by as much as 27 points (64-37) in the penultimate period and took a 64-22 advantage into the final frame.
In the last 10 minutes, Westmont led by as much as 32 points, so the outcome was not in doubt. What was in doubt was Berberabe's triple-double. Headed into the final minute, she had just six points. At the 30 second mark, the senior guard scored on a layup, making her point tally eight.
Arizona Christian's Madison Kekic scored with 16.0 seconds left in the game, and Berberabe quickly brought the ball down the floor. Her drive down the lane was thwarted but the ball went out of bounds off a Firestorm player with 10.1 seconds to play.
Haylie Dermer inbounded the ball to Berberabe who again was stopped trying to penetrate the lane. Instead, Berberabe passed the ball back to Giulia Abraham outside the arc, then made her way over to the right corner.
Abraham passed it back to Berberabe who was unguarded. With 2.7 seconds remaining, Berberabe unleashed a three. The ball passed through the net with 1.1 seconds remaining.
Eleven points. Triple-double. Celebration.
The Warriors are back in action on Saturday when they host Ottawa at noon.
(Courtesy Westmont Athletics)