Western wins No.800, 82-72 at Central Washington
Jan. 31, 2009
ELLENSBURG, Wash. - Western Washington University became just the 10th school in collegiate history to win 800 games, defeating arch-rival Central Washington University, 82-72, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's basketball contest Saturday at Nicholson Pavilion.
Western, which was coming off an 84-44 upset victory over WBCA/NCAA Division II nationally No.14-ranked Seattle Pacific, won its third straight game, improving to 12-5 overall and 4-2 in GNAC play.
Guard Amanda Dunbar (So., Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck) had 20 points to lead four double-figure scorers for the Vikings. Center Claire Pallansch (Sr., Redmond) added 18 points on 8-of-12 field-goal shooting, forward Jessica Summers (Sr., Blaine) had 16 points, six rebounds and four assists, and forward Willow Cabe (Jr., McCleary/Elma) contributed 10 points and seven rebounds.
It was the seventh straight loss for Central, which fell to 3-14 overall and 0-6 in conference contests. The Wildcats were led by guard Stephanie Wenke, who scored a game-high 29 points.
There were five ties and five lead changes before Western took the lead for good midway through the first half on a three-point play by forward Gabby Wade (Jr., Lacey/River Ridge).
Central cut the lead to one, 27-26, with 4:29 left in the opening period, but the Vikings closed the half with a 16-5 run for a 43-31 lead at halftime.
Dunbar scored 12 of her 15 first-half points during that stretch, hitting two 3-pointers, four free throws, and a jump shot with 10 seconds remaining.
Western never led by less than 10 points in the second half, and its biggest lead was 19, 63-44, with 11:21 remaining.
The Vikings now hold a 76-10 series advantage over Central, the most wins over any opponent.
Since the modern era of women's basketball began in 1971, Western has posted 800 victories, an average of 21.3 per season, against just 283 losses, a 73.8 winning percentage.
Among those schools already in that exclusive 800-win contingent are NCAA I powers Tennessee (1, 092), Louisiana Tech (942), Old Dominion (884), Stephen F. Austin (867), James Madison (843) and Texas (819). Western joins Division II Bentley (815), Division III Scranton (803) and NAIA Union (1,019) as the only non-Division I schools.
In 38 seasons under three coaches, Western has made 35 post-season appearances, including one stretch of 28 straight, while having just two losing seasons. The Vikings have put together 27 20-win campaigns and had 20 streaks of 10 or more victories.
Western returns home for two GNAC games, playing host to Northwest Nazarene on Thursday (7 p.m.) and Saint Martin's on Saturday (7 p.m.)
Vikings win No. 800
Winning has always been synonymous with the Western Washington University women's basketball program.
Now the Vikings can add another milestone to their legacy of success.
WWU became just the 10th women's college basketball program in the nation to reach 800 wins, defeating Central Washington University 82-72 on Saturday, Jan. 31, in Ellensburg.
Western has averaged 21.3 wins per season since the modern era of women's basketball began in 1971. Since that time, the Vikings have compiled a record of 800-283 under three coaches.
"My team is pretty pumped about getting to 800," WWU coach Carmen Dolfo said after the Vikings defeated Seattle Pacific University on Thursday, Jan. 29, for win number 799. "After (the SPU game) they were saying 'one more, one more.' I think it's just a chance to be a part of something bigger than yourself. They're excited to be the team that gets us to that place. But it just shows the consistency over the years that helped get us to that place. It's exciting."
In 38 seasons, the Vikings have reached the postseason 35 times, including a stretch of 28 consecutive trips. Western has competed in the Association for Intercollegiate Athletics for Women (AIAW), the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), and most recently at the NCAA Division II level.
"It's huge," sophomore Megan Pinske said in a phone interview on Friday. "As a team, it's something we are really looking forward to. It's something that so many people have been involved in."
Current WWU athletic director Lynda Goodrich coached the team from 1971 to 1990, finishing with 411 wins. Dolfo took over the program in 1991 after being both a player and an assistant coach. She's won 368 games in her 18 seasons. Sara Nichols also coached the team for one season, in 2003-2004, while Dolfo was on sabbatical.
"I think it says a lot for everybody who has been here," Dolfo said. "We're kind of a close-knit group. All of the people who played in the past continue to show their support and stay involved. I think it just says something about the program. This isn't about individuals; it's about everybody who has ever been involved."
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