BILLINGS, Mont. – [BOX SCORE] Freshman point guard Lauren Tsuneishi scored 20 points to lead one-seed Westmont (Calif.) over five-seed Loyola (La.) (77-65) and advance to the quarterfinal round of the 2018 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship presented by Wells Fargo.
During the first two minutes of the game, both teams forced turnovers but neither could convert those into points until Tsuneishi connected on a 3-point field goal.
The Warriors opened the period with an 8-3 run to take an 18-17 lead. Loyola continued to struggle but found enough offense to keep the game close. The Warriors led 33-27 at the intermission.
Westmont opened the second half with an 11-0 run, holding a 44-27 lead at the 5:57 mark of the third quarter and extended their lead to 18 at the end of the third quarter.
The Wolfpack made dents in the Westmont lead but could only trim the lead down to nine as the Warriors answered every Loyola run with one of their own.
The loss to Westmont was the Wolfpack’s first loss in the second round. In 2015-16, Loyola lost in the opening round and in 2014 lost in the quarterfinals.
Loyola ends their season at 26-6. Four players scored in double figures for Loyola led by Kaila Anthony with 20 and 12 from Paige Franckiewicz.
With the win, Westmont improves to 24-6 and advances to the quarterfinals for the fourth time in the last seven years. The Warriors won the national championship in 2013.
For Westmont, Tsuneishi was perfect from the field going seven-for-seven including six-for-six from the three-point line. Also scoring in double figures for Westmont were Maud Ranger with 15 and Lauren McCoy with 12.
Westmont will now play Saturday at 6 p.m. against the winner of the University of Providence and MidAmerica Nazarene second-round game.