Westmont Holds Off Cumberlands, 63-58
The Warriors (26-4) bounced back into the win column after having a 17-game win streak snapped last week in the Golden State Athletic Conference title game. It was only the second meeting between the two programs, with Westmont also winning the previous bought during the 2004 NAIA DI opening round.
Westmont took a 5-0 lead out of the gate and stretched the lead to eight on multiple occasions before the Cumberlands closed the half on a 7-0 run. Erica Lane hit back-to-back buckets for the Patriots in the final minute, including one with .02 remaining, to pull within in a point at the break, 24-23.
Dace Bicane gave Cumberlands a quick, but brief, lead to start the second half, 25-24. Westmont held on to its lead the rest of the way, despite Jill Herman tying it, 35-35, with her only 3-pointer of the game at 13:57 remaining. The Warriors stretched their lead once again, this time to 10 points, 49-39, with a balanced attack from Tugce Canitez, Esther Lee, Kelsie Sampson and Jillian Wilber.
Canitez led all players with 27 points in the game, 12 rebounds and six assists, while Lee and Sampson scored 14 and 13, respectively. Lee hit four of Westmont's five 3s.
The Warriors maintained a minimum five-point lead for until Jessica Upchurch cut it to a 3-point game, 61-58, with 20 seconds left. Canitez hit a pair of free throws to push it back to five, and the Patriots missed two 3-point looks in the final six seconds to end the game, shooting only 3-of-17 (.176) from the arc.
Upchurch led Cumberlands with a double-double 11 points and 11 rebounds, followed by 10 points from Lane.
Cumberlands ends its season with an 18-13 record.
Westmont will meet Rogers State (Okla.) in the second round Friday at 2:15 p.m. EDT. It will be the first meeting between the two programs.