After rebounding nicely from a rocky 1-6 start to the 2014-15 season, the women’s basketball team has regained their stride by going 17-4 in their last 21 contests as they prepare for the PacWest playoffs on March 5 against BYU-Hawaii University. The Sea Lions posted some forgettable performances during the seven-game stint, including a 29-point loss when they accumulated just two assists in their season opener to Cal State Dominguez Hills University—the lowest total of the season.
The team’s initial offensive woes were nothing shy of dismal. During their first seven games, they shot an average of 31.8 percent, averaged 8.7 assists per game, 13.1 turnovers, 54.3 points and 31.1 rebounds. Since then, they have improved considerably in all the aforementioned categories thanks in part to a simple roster mix-up to better suit the offense and defense, said Head Coach Bill Westphal after a dominating 85-51 win over Notre Dame De Namur University.
“We made some adjustments in our personnel, in our offensive style and our defensive style,” said Westphal. “Coach Wooden – who is my hero – has a phrase that I don’t like because it points the finger at you, (the coach). He said, ‘Your players are good enough if you are capable of showing them how,’ so I kept reading that after we were 3-7, and I go, ‘I think I know how, I got to show ‘em.’ So we changed some things and it really paid off, we started to play much better, got on a win streak and now we really have our identity.”
The Sea Lions ended their season by defeating Dixie State University 81-59 on Feb. 28.
It was senior Jessica Escorza’s last home game of her college career; she has led the Sea Lions in scoring for the past two seasons.
After Escorza posted a game-high 19 points while shooting 83 percent from the free throw line, she said that she wanted to serve as a positive influence on her teammates this year.
“I think I really wanted to finish out my career here at Point Loma really strong,” said Escorza. “I knew the work I needed to do, I knew the team we had this year and how I needed to step up and be more of a leader than last year. The girls pushed me very hard in practice, so you know, they’re just as much part of the success.”
Freshman Roya Rustamzada posted her third double-double of the season with 18 points to go along with 10 rebounds and five assists—tied for first on the team. As a solidified third seed going into the first round of the PacWest playoffs on March 5, Rustamzada said the team looks to contend in the playoffs while improving for next season.
“I want to just full out push it. At the beginning of the season, we were coming out slow and people weren’t expecting us to come out strong at all and now everyone is just shocked,” said Rustamzada. “I am just expecting next season and the seasons to come for us to be the team that people are afraid of and I know that we are going to come out strong and hard.”