March 8, 2014
LACEY, Wash. - Guards Katie Colard (Jr., McCleary/Elma) and Jenni White (Jr., Spokane/East Valley) combined for 38 points, lifting Western Washington University to a 78-74 victory over Simon Fraser University in the championship game of the fourth annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament on Saturday at Marcus Pavilion on the campus of host Saint Martin's University.
It was the second straight GNAC tourney title for the Vikings, who improved to 19-9 despite trailing throughout the first 33 minutes. They earn an automatic berth at the NCAA Division II West Regional on March 14-15 and 17.
Colard had 21 points and White, the tournament MVP, added 17 points, four assists and five steals as the Vikings won for the 16th time in the last 20 games.
Simon Fraser fell to 19-9 despite a game-high 28 points from forward Erin Chambers. The Clan jumped to a 10-0 lead and never trailed in an opening half where they shot 59.3 percent (16-of-27) from the field. SFU led by as much as 16 in the period and held a 42-32 lead at halftime.
"We talked at half that we were fine, we were only 10 down," said WWU coach Carmen Dolfo. " We needed to come out and play hard, play with heart, and not worry about a win or a loss. "
Trailing 51-41 with 14 minutes left, the Vikings used an 8-1 run to pull within three, 52-49, with 10:27 left. They eventually took their first lead of the contest, 61-60, on two Tia Briggs (Fr., Tacoma/Wilson) free throws with 5:54 to play.
The teams then exchanged one-point leads until White put WWU up by three, 71-68, on a driving layin with 2:29 left. Taylor Peacocke (R-Fr., Kenmoor/Inglemoor), who finished with 15 points and 11 rebounds, then extended the gap to five on a spinning 7-foot bank shot. Those baskets were part of a 9-0 run that gave the Vikings a 76-68 lead with 1:09 remaining.
"I felt like Jenny started it even late in the first half," Dolfo said. "She had two early fouls, and came back in and sparked us. She got the tempo going and played with a lot of heart. We made some key baskets at key times, and our guards - Katie, Jenni and Taylor - were great."
SFU pulled within three, 75-72, on a Chambers trey with 48 seconds left, and had a chance to tie after a turnover with 20 seconds remaining, but another turnover ended their possession, and Colard hit one of two free throws with seven seconds left to effectively seal the victory.
WWU has played in every GNAC tourney final since the event began in 2011. The Vikings lost to Alaska Anchorage the first two years before defeating Simon Fraser, 60-40, in 2013.
The full NCAA Division II National Tournament field will be announced at 7 p.m. PDT on www.ncaa.com.
WWU, the No.2 seed, reached the final with an 81-71 win over Saint Martin's in a semifinal Friday after receiving a first-round bye. SFU, the No.4 seed, upset No.1 Montana State Billings, 85-74, in a semifinal after defeating No.5 Seattle Pacific, 87-79, in opening-round action Wednesday.
WWU has now won 10 of 12 meetings with SFU since the Clan became the first Canadian university to join NCAA II.
This was the third meeting between WWU and SFU this season. They split the first two, SFU prevailing 62-58 at Burnaby, B.C., on Dec. 7 and the Vikings winning, 72-63, at Bellingham on March 1.
Women's Basketball Reunion Set for August 3-5
Sign up to take part in the WWU Women's Basketball Reunion
WWU Women's Basketball Adds Bernsen and Lance to Coaching Staff
Former WWU players Kayla Bernsen (graduate assistant) and Lance (student assistant) join coaching staff
Vikings Ink Point Guard Mollie Olson out of Napavine
Olson averaged 17.8 points and 7.3 assists during her senior season to earn 2B All-State honors
Women's Basketball 2017-18 Season in Review
WWU tied for 7th in the GNAC, earned the program's 1,000th all-time win in 2017-18
Nooksack Valley star Katrina Gimmaka to Join WWU Women's Hoops
Gimmaka earned First Team 1A All-State honors and Northwest Conference MVP honors as a senior in 2017-18
Pair of Vikings Earn Great Northwest Athletic Conference Honors
Hannah Stipanovich named Second Team All-GNAC, Dani Iwami honored as GNAC Newcomer of the Year
WWU Falls 76-63 to MSU Billings in Season Finale
Vikings come up just shy of GNAC Championships berth as Yellowjackets pull away after halftime
Comeback Falls Just Short in 79-77 Loss at SFU
Anna Schwecke scores career-high 28 points on 13-for-17 shooting in the tough loss
WWU Travels to Simon Fraser, Hosts MSU Billings
Vikings enter final week of regular season vying for GNAC Championships berth
WWU Edged 78-76 by NNU in Overtime Thriller
Vikings force overtime with late 3-pointer, NNU pulls ahead in final minute of overtime
WWU and Bellingham Selected as Host for 2019 GNAC Basketball Championships
WECU Court at Carver Gym will host the 2019 GNAC Basketball Championships March 7-9, 2019
Vikings Take Down Central Washington 67-59
Hannah Stipanovich scores game-high 19 points, WWU win for fifth time over last six games
Trio of Vikings Named to GNAC All-Academic Team
Hannah Stipanovich, Amanda Lance and Lexie Bland honored by conference
Vikings to Host Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene
WWU faces CWU on Thursday, NNU on Saturday in GNAC matchups
Late Comeback Falls Short in Women's Hoops 80-62 Loss at SPU
Gracie Castaneda scores career-high 21 points as Vikings have four-game winning streak snapped