Vikings put defensive clamps on No.18 Seattle Pacific in 54-40 win
Jan. 23, 2010
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Western Washington University used stifling defense and an offensive burst in the second half to defeat nationally ranked Seattle Pacific University, 54-40, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's basketball contest Saturday on Haggen Court at Sam Carver Gymnasium.
The Vikings held Seattle Pacific to 15 points less than its previous season low to improve to 15-2 overall and stay at the top of the GNAC standings at 6-0. Guard Megan Pinske (Jr., Coquitlam, BC/Port Moody) had a team-high 16 points on 6-of-9 field-goal shooting for Western, which won its sixth straight game and remained perfect in eight home contests this season.
Seattle Pacific, ranked No.18 in this week's USA Today/ESPN NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll, had a six-game winning streak snapped and fell to 13-3 overall and 4-1 in the GNAC. Guard Daesha Henderson led the Falcons, who shot just 31.3 percent (15-of-48) from the field, with a game-high 17 points.
The Vikings led by just four, 23-19, with 17 minutes to play, but went on a 12-2 run in a 2:52 span, capping the charge with back-to-back 3-pointers by Pinske and guard Amanda Dunbar (Jr., Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck) to take a 35-21 lead with 14:04 to play. Seattle Pacific never narrowed the margin to single digits after that.
Forward Willow Cabe (Sr., McCleary/Elma) had 13 points for Western and Dunbar added 11.
Both teams were very cold in the opening half, Western shooting 32 percent (8-of-25) and Seattle Pacific 27.3 percent (6-of-22). The Vikings held a 21-15 lead at halftime.
Western, which entered the game ranked in the top 10 in all three shooting percentage categories, was well below each of its season marks for the game, hitting 39.6 percent (21-of-53) from the field, including 25.0 percent (4-of-16) on 3-pointers, and 61.5 percent (8-of-13) on free throws.
The Vikings were outrebounded 40-27, but had just 12 turnovers to SPU's 23.
Western is at Montana State Billings on Thursday (5:15 p.m.) for a GNAC counter.
Vikings earn win at home over Seattle Pacific
MICHELLE NOLAN - THE BELLINGHAM HERALD
The offense wasn't pretty until a remarkable 12-minute assault in the second half, but the defense was gorgeous throughout from the standpoint of the Western Washington University women's basketball team.
The Vikings (15-2 overall, 6-0 GNAC) maintained their conference lead and moved into line for a possible national Division II ranking with a 54-40-victory over 18th-rated Seattle Pacific (13-3, 4-1) on Saturday, Jan. 23, before a roaring crowd at Carver Gym.
Junior guard Megan Pinske, in her usual sixth-man role, shot 6 for 9 and scored 16 of Western's first 40 points. She came through with nine points as the Vikings broke from a 23-19 lead three minutes into the second half to a 53-31 advantage with five minutes to play -a 30-12 run.
"No doubt about it," Western coach Carmen Dolfo said, when asked if the Vikings really have six starting-caliber players. "And the great thing about it is that Megan doesn't care what role she plays. She just wants to win."
The best aspect of the game from Western's standpoint was the return of senior forward Jessica Summers, who missed the Vikings' victory over Central two days earlier with a partially torn plantar fasciitis in her right foot.
"I can still play!" Summers said with a grin, although she didn't have to add that she appreciated the frequent breaks Dolfo gave her, thanks to Western's solid bench.
Summers, Western's scoring leader, played 21 minutes and finished with five points, five rebounds and two of the Vikings' nine steals. She helped cause plenty of defensive havoc as the Falcons finished with 23 turnovers compared to 12 for Western.
"I feel great," the former Blaine standout said, referring to one of Western's most effective defensive performances in a long time. "This and our (78-58) win over (eighth-ranked) Alaska Anchorage (Jan. 9) are the best defensive efforts in my two seasons here.
"Some people have said we're all offense and no defense, and we had a great defense tonight," Summers said, fully aware the Falcons came in averaging 70.9 points per game.
"We really executed all parts of our defense well," said Dolfo, agreeing that seldom in her 19 seasons has Western turned in a grittier effort, especially considering the stakes. "It was definitely an amazing defensive game."
Western led 21-15 at the half, limiting the Falcons to 6 for 22 miseries from the field. The Falcons finished 15 for 48 (31.3 percent).
The Vikings went 8 for 25 from the field in the first half and were zero for 9 from 3-point range until Pinske connected from the corner in the final seconds of the first half. Summers' shot from the corner 17 1/2 minutes into the game was Western's first outside basket.
"We rushed a lot of our shots in the first half," Summers said, grateful that the Vikings executed so well on the defensive end. In fact, at the point Western led 53-31 with six minutes left, the only Falcon with more than four points was team scoring leader Daesha Henderson, who came in averaging 12.9 and finished with 17 on 6 for 15 shooting.
The Vikings came into the Central game ranked No. 2 nationally in 3-point accuracy with 40.8 percent. Western finished 4 for 16, hitting four of their last seven 3-point attempts, with two by Pinske and two by Dunbar, who came in shooting 49.5 percent - sixth nationally-from 3-point range with 51 for 103. Dunbar was 2 for 7 against SPU, but her teammates picked her up nicely.
Cabe began the 30-12 second-half assault with two free throws and a shot from the corner. Pinske then hit an outside jumper and a 3-pointer. Dunbar followed with a 3 and Pinske scored on a drive to cap a 14-2 run and the Vikings. Junior post Lauren Hefflin contributed a couple of big buckets to the second-half carnage and point guard Ashley Fenimore scored on a drive for her only basket, moving the Vikings ahead 48-29 with six minutes remaining.
Appropriately for Western, the game ended with freshman Erika Ramstead from Nooksack Valley sprawled on the floor chasing a loose ball. Ramstead contributed a poised second-half effort, finishing with no tunovers in nine minutes.
The Vikings next visit Montana State Billings on Jan .28 and return home against Western Oregon on Jan. 30.
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