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Balanced Attack Lifts Westmont Past Saint Xavier

March 16, 2012
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FRANKFORT, Ky. – (Box Score; Coach Interview) Westmont (Calif.) advances to the quarterfinal round for the first time in team history with a 70-56 win over Saint Xavier (Ill.) in second round action at the 2012 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship presented by Kentuckytourism.com.

The Warriors, now 31-3 on the season, moves on to play the winner of Lubbock Christian (Texas)/Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) at 4 p.m. EST on Saturday.

“Our girls did a really good job of focusing on what we wanted to do,” said Westmont head coach Kirsten Moore. “We took advantage of our strengths inside, especially on the boards. In both halves we struggled turning the ball over, which we will need to clean up moving forward.”

Westmont held Saint Xavier – the nation’s sixth-best shooting team at 44.3 percent -- to only 25.8 percent (17-of-66) shooting from the field, including an eight percent (1-for-14) effort from beyond the arc.

Katie Kittle led Westmont with 19 points, while also adding five rebounds, three assists and three steals. Aubrey Lincoln, Lisa Peterson and Tugce Canitez teamed up for 13 points each, while Kelsie Simpson had a career-high five blocks.

As a team, the Warriors ended the game shooting 43.6 percent (24-for-55) from the floor, including a 52.5 percent (12-of-23) effort in the second half. Westmont held a 49-38 advantage in rebounding.

Saint Xavier kept the score within five until the eight minute mark of the opening period, when eight straight points from Kelsie Sampson pushed the Warrior lead to 30-21 with 4:29 remaining. However, the Cougars answered with six straight points, all coming at the foul line, to make it 32-28 at the half.

After trading baskets to open the second half, Westmont seized control of the contest with an 11-2 surge to push its advantage out to 50-32 at the 12:19 mark. Saint Xavier would cut the deficit back under nine points just twice more during the contest, as the Westmont perimeter defense and post offense proved too much for the Cougars.

Marissa Young led Saint Xavier with19 points, including an 8-for-8 effort at the foul line, while Morgan Stuut chipped in 15 points and seven rebounds.

Saint Xavier ends the season with a 24-9 overall record.