WWU opens 2014 with 84-77 upset at nationally No.9-ranked Seattle Pacific

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Katie Colard
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Katie Colard
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Jan. 2, 2014

Box Score

SEATTLE, Wash. - Guard Katie Colard (Jr., McCleary/Elma) scored a career and game-high 25 points, hitting 5-of-7 3-pointers as Western Washington University upset nationally top 10-ranked Seattle Pacific University, 84-77, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's basketball game on Thursday at Royal Brougham Pavilion.

The Vikings, who have played just two of their first 10 games at home, improved to 5-5 overall and 1-1 in GNAC play with their second straight win. They also got a career-high 16 points from center Sarah Hill (Sr., Richmond, VA/Lloyd C.Bird), who also contributed four rebounds, four blocked shots and three steals.

SPU, ranked No.9 in the latest Women's Basketball Coaches Association/NCAA Division II/Top 25 Poll, fell to 8-3 overall and 1-2 in conference action. The Falcons, who have dropped three of their last four games after a 7-0 start, got 18 points from guard Suzanna Ohlsen and forward Katie Benson had 17 points and a game-high nine rebounds.

With the score tied at 67-all with under seven minutes remaining, Colard put the Vikings ahead to stay at 70-67 on a 3-pointer at 6:27. That began a stretch in which she scored 12 of WWU's last 17 points, including six straight for a 79-73 lead with 2:16 to go.

SPU, which scored just one field goal in the last four minutes, never got closer than three after that.

The Falcons, who were ahead by seven points three times during the opening 12 minutes, led 44-43 at halftime on a jumper by Betsy Kingma with two seconds left.

WWU never trailed after scoring the first five points of the second half to take a 48-44 advantage, opening with a 3-pointer by Hill.

Colard was 7-of-9 from the floor and made 6-of-7 free throws.

Jenni White (Jr., Spokane/East Valley) and Taylor Peacocke (Fr., Kenmore/Inglemoor) each scored 11 points for the Vikings, who shot 50.0 percent (28-of-56) from the field and 56.3 percent (9-of-16) from 3-point range. White also had a game-high six assists.

Center Maddey Pflaumer and Kingma each had 12 points for SPU, which had a 40-26 rebound advantage.

WWU is at Montana State Billings on Saturday (7 p.m. MT) for a GNAC counter.

SPU goes cold in loss to Western

Falcons hit just one field goal in last 4 minutes as Vikings put it away, 84-77

SEATTLE - Even when their offense cooled down, the Seattle Pacific Falcons still did enough things well at that end of the court to win their women's basketball showdown against arch-rival Western Washington on Thursday night.

It was at the other end where they got hurt.

Katie Colard pumped in 25 points for Western Washington, getting 12 of those during the last eight minutes as the Vikings knocked off No.9-ranked SPU in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference contest in Brougham Pavilion, 84-77.

Junior guard Suzanna Ohlsen (Bellevue, Wash. / Newport HS) led the Falcons (8-3, 1-2 GNAC) with 18 points. Senior forward Katie Benson (Snohomish, Wash. / Snohomish HS) added 17. Junior guard Betsy Kingma (Bellevue, Wash. / Newport HS) and sophomore center Maddey Pflaumer (Issaquah, Wash. / Issaquah HS) tallied 12 apiece.

"The bottom line is, hats off to Western - they've improved tremendously," SPU head coach Julie Heisey said. "They saw an opportunity to win, and they took it. It's the same thing that hurt us last year: We can score with anybody, but we didn't stop people.

After their best shooting half of the season - 61 percent through the first 20 minutes - SPU hit at just a 35.2 percent clip during the second half. Even so, the Falcons wound up at 48.5 percent for the game (33 of 68) seven-plus points above their season average of 41 percent.

But Western (5-5, 1-1 GNAC), which came into the game at 44.1 percent, shot an even 50 (28 of 56). That included a blistering 56.3 percent (9 of 16) from behind the 3-point line. The Falcons were just 2 of 13 from downtown.

"We just made a lot of mistakes defensively, just things that were fundamental defense," Heisey said. "Western scores off of penetration, and three of their first four possessions, they drove to the middle. They score off transition - if you turn it over, they'll score, and we had 18 turnovers (leading to 19 Vikings points). Defense dictates offense, and you have to make the other team uncomfortable."

The Falcons are back in Brougham Pavilion on Saturday at 7 p.m. against Simon Fraser.

Western Washington scored the first five points coming out of halftime to turn a 44-43 deficit into a 48-44 lead, and didn't trail again.

The Falcons were always within striking distance, never trailing by more than six. But on two key occasions when Seattle Pacific seemed ready to swipe the momentum, WWU's Colard - who finished with more than double her team-high average of 10.6 points - had an answer.

First, senior guard Mechela Barnes (Tacoma, Wash. / Bellarmine Prep HS) had a putback to tie it at 67-67 with 6:50 left. Colard promptly came down and nailed a trey for a 70-67 edge at the 6:25 mark.

Then with 4:20 on the clock, Kingma drained an 8-footer from the left of the lane, getting SPU within 72-71. Colard nailed another 3-pointer, this one at 4:04, making it 75-71. The Falcons, who hit just one more field goal after that, never got closer than three the rest of the night. Western finished the game on a 12-6 run.

"We dug ourselves a little bit of a hole tonight," Heisey said. "We can get better, but we have to choose to get better."

The Vikings had a decided advantage at the foul line, hitting 19 of 28. The Falcons were 9 of 9.

Seattle Pacific dominated the boards, 40-26, led by Benson's nine.

A fast-paced, end-to-end first half ended with the Falcons on top, 44-43, thanks to a Kingma putback with two seconds remaining. That marked the 11th lead change of the half, as the teams combined to shoot 61 percent from the field: 61.8 for the Falcons (21 of 34) and 60 percent for the Vikings (15 of 25).

The 44 points was the most Seattle Pacific has scored in an opening half this season. Its previous high was 39 against South Dakota School of Mines on Dec. 19.