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Westminster basketball: Griffins travel to California for two games

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Wednesday, Dec. 5 2012 1:35 p.m. MST

SALT LAKE CITY — It is back to the road this week for the fourth-ranked Westminster College women’s basketball team. Westminster will begin an eight-game road stretch Friday when it faces Concordia (Calif.) at 6:30 p.m. MT in Costa Mesa, Calif. That precedes one of the top games in the NAIA so far this season as the Griffins face No. 3 Vanguard (Calif.) on Saturday at 1 p.m. MT in Costa Mesa, Calif.

Westminster returns to the road riding a seven-game winning streak and carrying a 7-1 overall record. They are 1-0 in Frontier Conference games after a 73-35 win over Montana Western last Saturday in the Behnken Field House. The current seven-game winning streak is the second longest streak under head coach Shelley Jarrard. The team won 11 straight games during a stretch last season.

The Griffins are a perfect 4-0 away from home this season, including a 3-0 mark in road games. They have won seven-straight road games dating back to last season. Westminster has also won four consecutive non-conference road games.

Westminster is averaging 61.8 points per game this season and leads the Frontier Conference by shooting 41.5 percent from the field. They are coming off a season-high for points in a game with the 73 scored against Western. The Griffins make 7.25 threes per game to rank 17th in the NAIA, while shooting 37.7 percent from beyond the arc, seventh in the country.

Defensively the Griffins hold the opposition to just 51.6 points per game and limit them to 36.9 percent shooting. They rank 11th nationally in scoring defense and 36th in field goal defense. Westminster opponents are shooting just 27.2 percent from beyond the arc and are averaging 15.4 turnovers per game.

Concordia leads the all-time series with the Griffins, 3-1. They haven’t played since a 77-69 win by Concordia on Nov. 9, 2006 in Salt Lake City. The lone Griffin win in the series was a 59-57 win on Nov. 5, 2005 in Irvine.

Westminster trails in the all-time series with Vanguard, 0-4. The Lions won the last meeting 60-43 on Oct. 30, 2010 in Costa Mesa. Three of the four match-ups in the series have been played in Costa Mesa with the fourth taking place at the 2009 NAIA National Championships. The Griffins first-ever game was at Vanguard on Nov. 12, 1999, a 69-55 loss.

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