Westmont wins NAIA Championship

Viva California, as Westmont College claimed the NAIA title today:

FRANKFORT, Ky. – (Box Score | Bracket | Postgame Comments-Video) Westmont captured the program’s first-ever national championship tonight with a 71-65 win over Lee (Tenn.) in the championship final of the 2013 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship at the Frankfort Convention Center.

Westmont, who finishes the season with a 30-4 overall record, sealed the institution’s eighth national crown when tournament Most Valuable Player Tugce Canitez connected on a runner in the lane to give the Warriors a 71-65 lead with nine seconds left. Lee (34-3) had its last two opportunities blocked as the final seconds ran off the clock.

Canitez and fellow forward Kelsie Sampson paced Westmont with 25 points each, while guard Esther Lee scored 12 points on a 4-of-5 effort from beyond the arc. Canitez, who added a game-high 20 rebounds to earn her 17th double-double of the season, ended her senior season four points shy of tying the Westmont career scoring record.