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Westminster basketball: Griffin women close regular season with two road games

Rashel Blazzard looks to pass. Blazzard and the No. 3 Westminster women's basketball team close the regular season with road games at Lewis-Clark State and Montana Tech this weekend.
Rashel Blazzard looks to pass. Blazzard and the No. 3 Westminster women's basketball team close the regular season with road games at Lewis-Clark State and Montana Tech this weekend.
Bob McLellan

The No. 3 Westminster women’s basketball team completes the regular season this weekend by playing a pair of Frontier Conference road games. The Griffins begin the week at Lewis-Clark State on Thursday at 6:30 p.m. MT, before the finale at Montana Tech on Saturday at 5:30 p.m.

Westminster enters the final week of the regular season at 21-2 on the season and has clinched at least a share of a seventh-straight Frontier Conference regular season title with an 11-1 mark in league games. The Griffins have already secured the No. 1 seed at the conference tournament and need one win or a loss by Montana State-Northern to win the regular season title outright.

The Griffins average 65.13 points per game on the year, and they have scored at least 70 points in a game six times on the year. The team shoots 43.5 percent from the field to rank 14th in the NAIA and is third in the country by making 37.1 percent from beyond the arc. The Griffins make 7.26 treys per game — 13th in the NAIA — while posting 15.74 assists per game, which ranks 16th nationally.

Westminster leads the NAIA in scoring defense by holding the opposition to 47.83 points per game. The Griffins have held 15 opponents to less than 50 points during the year — including eight in conference play — while placing fifth in the NAIA by holding the opposition to 34 percent shooting. The Griffins force 15.61 turnovers per game with an average of 8.04 steals per contest.

Tia Pappas has scored a team-high 306 points on the season for an average of 13.30 points per game. Amy Krommenhoek has scored 269 points (11.70 per game), and she leads the team with 120 assists and 52 steals. Amanda Hacking leads the Griffins with 177 rebounds (70 offensive), and Mika Pinner has a team-best 23 blocked shots.

The Griffins are 16-0 on the season when they score at least 60 points in a game. They are also perfect in 18 outings when they hold the lead at halftime. Westminster enters the week 18-0 when grabbing more rebounds than its opponent and is 12-0 on Saturdays.

Westminster claimed two wins in its final home games of the regular season, defeating then-No. 22 Great Falls and then-No. 11 Montana State-Northern. Winters earned Frontier Conference Player of the Week honors after scoring 20 points against Great Falls and then adding 10 against MSU-Northern. She was 6-of-12 from beyond the arc in the two wins with nine assists and five rebounds. Pappas scored 14 points against UGF to become the eighth player in school history to score 1,000 career points.

Westminster has clinched the No. 1 seed for the upcoming Frontier Conference Tournament and will be playing at home in any game it plays. The Griffins host a semifinal game on March 6, against the lowest remaining seed following the quarterfinal games on March 3. The championship game will be played on March 9, with the Griffins hosting should they win their semifinal contest. All games of the conference tournament begin at 7 p.m. MT.