Westmont claims its first women’s NAIA crown since 2013

SIOUX CITY, Iowa — Stefanie Berberabe and Iyree Jarrett each scored 23 points and Westmont (Calif.) beat short-handed Thomas More (Ky.) 72-61 on Tuesday night for its first women’s NAIA national championship since 2013.

Westmont (15-1) won for the 15th straight time this season — with its lone loss coming in overtime to Division-I member Pepperdine.

Westmont went on an 11-0 run to build a 30-22 lead and it was 34-28 at the half, led by Berberabe’s 16 points. Berberabe finished 10 of 19 from the field, and was named the tournament’s most valuable player after scoring 26 points in the semifinals.

Thomas More was without starter Zoie Barth, averaging a team-high 13.1 points, after getting injured late in the semifinals.

Lauren Tsuneishi added 14 points for Westmont, of the Golden State Athletic Conference. Jarrett and Tsuneishi each made four 3-pointers as Westmont was 11 of 30 from distance.

Emily Simon scored 14 points, Summer Secrist added 13 and Taylor Clos 11 for Thomas More (29-2), which had a 14-game winning streak snapped in its first NAIA championship game appearance. The Saints, of the Mid-South Conference, made seven of their first nine field goals but finished 22 of 52 for 38.6%.

Westmont and Thomas More both qualified for last year’s tournament in Billings, Montana, before it was canceled due to COVID-19.

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