Before every game, Westfield’s Emily McNamara practices form shooting in the driveway of her Centreville home. It helps her, she says, because the time allotted in warmups before games just isn’t enough time to get into a shooting rythym.
Sure enough, McNamara couldn’t hit anything in Friday night’s shootaround. But when the game tipped, the junior guard knocked down her first three three-point attempts and finished with a game-high 19 points as Westfield beat Robinson, 52-41, on the Rams’ senior night.
“Usually when I don’t shoot well in warmups I hit them in the game, and that’s how it went tonight,” McNamara said.
With her three-point shot falling, McNamara expanded her game with a series of mid-range jumpers, layups and floaters, all benefitting from a lethal pump-fake.
It was McNamara’s sixth straight game scoring in double figures for a Bulldogs squad that has won five of seven as the Conference 5 tournament approaches.
“Emily is just being a good leader,” Westfield Coach Maggie Endler said. “Yes, she’s scoring the points, but she’s locking up on the defensive end and getting others involved.”
Westfield (10-11, 5-4 Conference 5) held a seven-point lead midway through the fourth quarter before the Rams made their final push. But McNamara made two consecutive steals that led to transition layups to secure the win.
Westfield received 21 points off the bench from freshmen Kelsey Kiley (8 points) and sophomore Isabel Kearsey (13 points). With just three seniors on the roster, the underclassmen have seen plenty of playing time this season.
“We rely on [the underclassmen], and I don’t want to say I’m surprised by what they’ve done because everyone has been solid for us,” Endler said. “It’s nice that the reserves had a game like this tonight.”
Robinson (9-12, 4-5) led 23-21 at the half but was outscored 15-6 in the third quarter as it dropped to fourth place in the conference. Rams freshman Bhrandi Crenshaw scored a team-high 11 points.
The Bulldogs take hold of third place with the win, which guarantees a home game in the conference tournament.
“We’ll take it. It’s nice to know we have a home game,” Endler said. “With us being a young team, we play better at home and are still trying to learn how to win on the road. This is huge for us.”