WWU falls to Montana State Billings, 71-63, in GNAC first-place battle

WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM Sarah Hill
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM
Sarah Hill
WWUVIKINGSDOTCOM

Jan. 30, 2014

Box Score

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Western Washington University's home winning streak ended at 26 games, as guard Bobbi Knudsen scored a game-high 28 points to lift Montana State University Billings to a 71-63 triumph over the Vikings in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's basketball game Thursday at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.

Center Sarah Hill (Sr., Richmond, VA/Lloyd C. Bird) led the Vikings, who fell to 11-7 overall and 7-3 in the GNAC, with 16 points and nine rebounds. The loss snapped a six-game winning streak for WWU.

MSUB improved to 15-5 overall and took over first place in the GNAC at 8-2 with its fifth consecutive victory. Forward Kayleen Goggins added 12 points for the Yellowjackets.

The Vikings trailed by just two, 44-42, with under 15 minutes left, but then had just one field goal in the next eight minutes, and Knudsen scored 11 of MSUB's next 14 points to give the Yellowjackets a 58-50 lead, matching the biggest of the game, with 7:59 to go.

WWU rallied with six straight points to pull within two, 60-58, and had a pair of potential go-ahead 3-pointers rim out, the last with 3:40 remaining, but MSUB then took control, as Janiel Olson hit a 3-pointer, and then with the shot clock running down, Knudsen missed a shot off the side of the backboard but converted the putback for a 65-58 advantage with 2:04 to go. The Vikings never got closer than four points after that.

Tia Briggs (Fr., Tacoma/Wilson) came off the bench to score 14 points for WWU, and forward Sydney Donaldson (Jr., Edmonds/Edmonds-Woodway) had 11 points and 12 rebounds.

The 26-game home winning streak matched the second-longest in school history and was just three games short of the school record (1983-86).

MSUB shot 56.0 percent (14-of-25) from the field in taking a 37-35 halftime lead. The period featured five ties and eight lead changes, with no lead of more than six points.

Knudsen, who had 37 points in an 82-69 victory over WWU at Billings on Jan. 4, was 12-of-23 from the field Thursday, adding seven rebounds and four assists.

MSUB had a 43-34 rebound advantage with Chelsea Banis grabbing 12 and Olson 11.

WWU hosts Seattle Pacific on Saturday (5:15 p.m.) in a GNAC counter.