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Westminster basketball: Vale, Taylor lead Griffins to road win

The Westminster women’s basketball team got 23 points and 15 rebounds from Aubrie Vale as it closed 2016 with a 72-61 win at Colorado School of Mines on Friday afternoon in Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference action.

“This is a big program win for us, especially on the road,” Westminster head coach Shelley Jarrard said after the game. “Mines is a very good, well coached team.”

Westminster (6-5, 4-3 RMAC) shot 40.8 percent from the floor and hit 8-of-21 from beyond the arc to secure the road win. The Griffins held Colorado Mines (8-8, 4-3) to 31.6 percent shooting and allowed just 4-of-23 from three by the home squad.

Early into the second quarter the Griffins held a 21-11 advantage after completing an 18-4 run. They made 7-of-8 shots during the six-minute stretch and got six points from Sydnee Taylor. Mines answered with 11 of the game’s next 12 points to tie the contest at 22-22 with 4:44 remaining in the first half.

Taylor then scored 10 points in the next eight minutes of game time to lead a Griffins 19-3 run that had them leading by 16 with 6:58 to play in the third quarter. Westminster held that advantage the rest of the game and secured the victory by making their final 12 free throws after Mines cut the deficit to 60-56 with 2:15 remaining.

“We didn’t excel in all categories, but we hung tough through their run and made our free throws down the stretch,” Jarrard said. “I’m proud of our fight and grit we showed to finish the win.”

Vale scored her season-high 23 points on 5-of-13 shooting with four makes from beyond the arc. She tallied 17 of those points in the final 14:08 of game time, including an 8-of-8 performance at the charity tripe in the final 40 seconds. Her 15 rebounds are the most by a Griffin in a game since Nov. 15, 2012.

“It was great to have Aubrie have a big scoring day for us,” Jarrard said on her senior guard.

As a team, Westminster shot 85.7 percent at the foul line and made 18-of-20 in the second half. The Griffins won the rebounding battle, 45-43, and had 10 assists and five steals.

Taylor added 18 points and five rebounds for the Griffins. She connected on a pair of threes and made all four attempts at the foul line. Denise Gonzalez added 11 points and two steals.

Mines was able to stay in the game behind 18 offensive rebounds that the team converted into 23 second chance points. Mines also scored 15 points from 17 Griffin turnovers.

Cassidy Budge led the Orediggers with 16 points, while Elizabeth Tomon and Emily Bailey added 15 and 12, respectively.

The Griffins now return home where they will host a pair of RMAC games next weekend. They welcome Colorado Christian to the Behnken Field House on Jan. 6, at 5:30 p.m. MST.