NAIA No. 2 Westmont defeats Gold Nuggets 61-45

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SANTA BARBARA, Calif. — NAIA No. 2 Westmont used 12-0 and 13-2 first-half runs as the springboard to a 61-45 women’s basketball victory Thursday against Xavier University of Louisiana.

It was the first of two games in southern California for the Gold Nuggets (1-1), who will play another NAIA opponent, La Sierra, at 9:30 a.m. PST Sunday in Riverside.

Shylia McGee and Ashanti LaVergne scored 12 points apiece for XULA. LaVergne was 4-of-4 from the floor, 4-of-5 from the line and had six rebounds and two blocks in 24 minutes. McGee grabbed eight rebounds.

Stefanie Berberabe had 13 points, three assists and five steals for Westmont (3-0), and Aleena Cook scored 11.

Two LaVergne free throws at 5:51 of the first quarter gave XULA a 7-2 lead, but the Warriors scored the next 12 points and did not lose the lead thereafter.

Westmont led 33-16 in the first half, then XULA outscored Warriors 29-28 in the second.

Westmont outshot the Gold Nuggets 35.4 to 34 percent from the floor and had advantages of 23-16 in made field goals and 45-35 in rebounds. Westmont grabbed 22 offensive rebounds and scored 16 second-chance points.

XULA and Westmont each made five 3-pointers. McGee and teammate Autumn Chassion made two 3s apiece.

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