Warriors send off seniors with back-to-back wins

VanDyke pulls down 18 boards
By: Brianna Campbell for The Placer Herald/News Messenger
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In their final game in Warrior Arena for the 2016-17 campaign, the William Jessup University women’s basketball team went out with style and heart on Senior Day. The Warriors recognized two major contributors to the program in a pregame ceremony in front of the home crowd for Cara Tortorich and Tyler Swycinsky

In back-to-back games at home, the ladies fought as a team down to the wire in true Warrior fashion, showing up against Hope International with a 62-51 victory over the Royals.

"Overall I'm very happy to get this win for Tyler and Cara," head coach Kurt Westendorp commented.  "It's unfortunate that Tyler wasn't able to play due to injury, but the team rallied around her and was focused on sending her out the right way."

With a pair in double figures and four just shy of that, the Warriors continued to move the ball and work together shooting an impressive 41 percent from the field over the Royals' 35 percent.

"I'm really pleased with the balance we showed again tonight," Westendorp reflected.  "With Ashlyn (Jones) in early foul trouble we needed people to step up their offensive production and we did."

Despite the foul trouble, Jones led the Warriors with a game-high 17 points, closing the season with 21-of-25 games in double figures averaging 15-points per game. 

But leading in a more dominant category was junior Emilee VanDyke pulling down an impressive 18 boards, seven of which were on the offensive end. 

"Emilee VanDyke had one of her best games of the season tonight," Westendorp said on VanDyke’s versatility. "Not only the 18 rebounds but getting five assists and only one turnover.  She stepped up when we needed her the most today."

VanDyke gained a spot in the single-game, all-time record book taking sole possession of the No. 2 spot for rebounds. 

The Royals set the pace early, taking the Warriors back a little bit by the slower rhythm, but the spark started at the end of the first 10 minutes of play with back-to-back baskets for the lead, 13-10.

Momentum carried over into the second quarter, as the Warriors continued to push the Royals and gaining a lead by as many as nine points with just over a minute left to play in the half. VanDyke brought down the offensive board and had a put-back for a 26-17 lead.

Hope answered with a final bucket in the first half, as the Warriors headed into the break up 26-19.

The Warriors continued their lead, up by as much as eight points through the final two quarters. To kick off the final 10 minutes of play, the Warriors went on a 9-0 run for the largest lead of the game (13), with half a quarter left in regulation.

Trying to chip away at the lead down the wire, the Royals sent the Warriors to the line where they went 4-6 under pressure, closing the second half 7-10 from the line at 70 percent.

Olivia Luu took the final two shots of the season for the Warriors at the charity stripe, going 2-2 and finishing with a total eight points. She also added six assists and two steals.

Closing the season with two home-game wins, the Warriors finished the year 11-15 overall and 4-12 in the Golden State Athletic Conference. 

Westendorp closed his first season as head coach, already looking forward to the future.

"Hopefully these two wins this week give us some momentum heading into an important offseason,” Westendorp said. “I can't wait to see what this group can do next season."