The Blue Jays clamped down on defense and played physical, hungry basketball, but the Vikings used their speed and agility to break down the pressure and get open looks to knock down shots.
NP staked a 7-0 lead through the first four minutes after a lay-up from sophomore Kayla McCall, but Westminster fought its way back into the game to close the gap to 7-5 nearly three minutes later. A quick lay-up from freshman Nicole Kruckman and a three-pointer from senior Shaina Yalda on the Vikings’ next two possessions however allowed the hosts to build their lead back to 12-5 and later 23-8 after a another Kruckman lay-up before taking a 32-21 edge at halftime.
Westminster then started the second half strong by cutting the lead to nine twice in the first three minutes of the half, but North Park again used its speed to get down the floor and stay in its rhythm on offense. The Vikings used a 7-2 scoring run over a four-minute span to pull ahead by 14 at 45-31 on a lay-up from Yalda and later built as much as an 18-point lead after a pair of free throws from senior Sarah Peterson with 2:56 left.
North Park out-scored Westminster 4-0 in fast break points and had 34 points in the paint to the Blue Jays 14. Seven different players came off the bench to score a combined 21 points, led by 10 points from Yalda, who connected for a pair of three-pointers.
Kruckman finished with a game-high 14 points on 6 of 7 shooting, while senior Kamauria Acreeadded 13 points and was a perfect 5-for-5 from the free throw line. Leigh Ann Lutz led Westminster with 14 points as the Blue Jays dropped their record to 2-6.
North Park (8-0) returns to action next week when it travels to California to compete in the UC-Santa Cruz tournament. The Vikings first-round opponent is Pacific University Dec. 19 at 7 p.m. CST.