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Westminster basketball: Griffin women defeat Argos, clinch bye into semifinals

By Josh Fisher

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, Feb. 13 2014 11:41 p.m. MST

The No. 3 Westminster College women’s basketball team clinched a bye into the semifinals of the upcoming Frontier Conference Tournament with a 70-51 win over Great Falls on Thursday night in the Behnken Field House.

The Griffins (19-2, 13-0 Frontier) 12th straight victory didn’t come easy even after opening the game with a 22-7 run over the opening 8:23 of the night. Tia Pappas sparked the early run with eight points and helped her team to 10-of-16 shooting during the span. Great Falls (14-12, 4-9) closed the half by outscoring the Griffins, 22-9, and trailed by just two at intermission.

Westminster struggled early in the second half as it made just one of its first 10 shots from the field, however, Westminster got to the foul line and was able to increase the lead to 47-42 with 8:40 remaining behind eight points from Alli Blake.

It was Blake that would then carry her squad down the stretch with 15 points in the final 8:25 of the game as Westminster outscored the Argonauts, 23-9, to close out the win. The Griffins limited the visitors to 2-of-12 shooting in crunch time while making 9-of-13 themselves.

Blake finished the night with 27 points, two off her career high, on a night that she made 9-of-14 attempts. The senior also went 9-of-12 at the foul line with three rebounds and five steals. Pappas finished with 14 points, six rebounds and six steals. Alli Winters shot 3-of-5 from beyond the arc for nine points, and Shelby Ellsworth scored nine points with five assists.

The Griffins finished the game shooting 45.3 percent from the field, and they scored 32 points in the paint. They totaled 12 assists and only seven turnovers with none of those coming after halftime. Westminster limited UGF to 34.6 percent shooting and forced 18 turnovers which it turned into 19 points.

Lindsey Abramson led the Argos with 14 points and 14 rebounds. Erin Legel added 13 points and five assists but committed nine turnovers.

Westminster will play at home for the final time of the regular season on Saturday when it welcomes No. 19 Montana State-Northern to Behnken Field House for a 5:30 p.m. MST. The Griffin senior class will be recognized in a ceremony following the game.

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