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Strong Second Half Propels Westmont to Second Round

March 19, 2015
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INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – (Box Score) In Thursday’s second game of the day in the 2015 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Susan G. Komen Greater Kansas City, No. 4 Westmont (Calif.) defeated No. 5 Lyon (Ark.), 74-63, to advance to Friday’s second round inside the Independence Events Center.

In their 10th visit to the national championship, the Warriors (25-6) have struggled to get past the initial round of competition. With today’s victory, however, the fourth-seeded team has now won three of its last four matchups in the first round – including two triumphs over Lyon (2012; 59-57).

The Scots came out on all cylinders in the first half, shooting 48.3 percent on 14-of-29 from the floor, including four-of-six from behind the arc. Scoring was spread throughout the roster for the school from Batesville, Ark., as four Lyon players nailed a three-pointer in the first 20 minutes.

Ashala Watson and Carina Jackson both put up seven to lead the Scots in scoring during in the first half.

Lyon’s lead was as high as 10 points with 6:26 left in the first stanza, held a 36-30 lead at the break thanks to a poor shooting performance from Westmont. The Warriors shot 10-of-33 from the field (30.3 percent) and did not hit a shot from three-point land (0-7).

The majority of Westmont’s offense came in the paint, as 24-of-30 were close to the rim. The Warriors were led by Aysia Shellmire with 10. Three players combined for 25 points in the half (Shellmire, Lauren McCoy, eight; Kristin Karr; seven).

The second half was a much different story.

Westmont flipped a switch and was on fire from long distance in the final half, going eight-for-10. The long-distance splashes helped the Warriors finish the game outscoring the Scots 44-27 in the second half. The three-point barrage was guided by Esther Lee, who poured in five-of-seven threes after failing to score in the first 20 minutes of action.

For the game, Karr lead the way for Westmont – one of four players in double-digits – with 18. Lee finished with 17 points, Shellmire added 12 and six rebounds and McCoy had a double-double with 10 points and 11 boards.

In the loss, Jamie Jackson led the way for Lyon by tallying 18 points, including 12 second-half points. Elliot Taylor finished with 11 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Watson also hit double-figures with 10.

The Scots (27-7) are now 0-4 all-time in the national championship in their four trips. With the win, the Warriors await the winner of No. 1 Westminster (Utah) (25-2) and Eighth-seeded Cumberland (Tenn.) (16-12) for a Friday second round tilt. Tip is scheduled for 6:15 p.m. CDT.

The first 30 games of the 2015 NAIA Women’s Basketball National Championship is available live on the NAIA Network. For packages and pricing visit www.NAIANetwork.com.