March 9, 2012
LA JOLLA, Calif. - Guard Corinn Waltrip(Jr., Tigard, OR) had 15 points, including the go-ahead basket with 2:35 to play, as Western Washington University defeated Cal State University Monterey Bay, 65-58, in the third game of Friday's first round of the West Regional of the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament at RIMAC Arena on the campus of host UC San Diego.
The Vikings, the No.4 seed in the West Region, improved to 22-7 overall and will face top-seed UC San Diego in a regional semifinal Saturday (7:30 p.m.). The Tritons were an 84-66 winner over Chico State in the final game of the first round.
CSUMB concluded its season 21-8. Guard Jessica Fontenette led the Otters with 15 points, six assists and five steals.
The Vikings shot 50.0 percent (14-of-28) from the field in the first half and held a 36-22 halftime lead. But CSUMB stormed back early in the second half, using an 18-6 burst over the first six minutes to pull within two, 42-40. The Otters eventually tied the game at 50-50 on a fastbreak layin by Fontenette with 9:50 to play.
From there, there were three ties and six lead changes before Waltrip hit a driving layin from the left side to give WWU a 59-58 lead. From there, the Vikings held the Otters scoreless the rest of the way, forcing turnovers on the next two possessions and securing the final margin by hitting six consecutive free throws.
"Monterey Bay played great in the second half, and it seemed like we were playing not to lose," said WWU coach Carmen Dolfo(21st year). "But we showed a lot of composure to recover. Our blocking out was key, we were able to keep them to one shot."
Forward Kristin Schramm (Sr., Chelan) had 14 points for the Vikings, and center Britt Harris (Jr., Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck) added 12. Guard Trishi Williams(Jr., Mabton) added nine points and had a game-high 10 rebounds for WWU, which had a 46-30 advantage on the boards.
WWU trailed only once in the first half, at 2-0, but led just 14-13, with 11 minutes left in the period before scoring nine straight points to take a 23-13 lead on a three-pointer by Katie Colard(R-Fr., McCleary/Elma) with just under seven minutes left in the half.
Danielle Padilla and Brittani Jefferson came off the bench to contribute 11 and 10 points, respectively, for the Otters, who were held to 35.5 percent (22-of-62) field goal shooting, including 28.1 percent (9-of-32) in the first half.
The victory was WWU's first opening-round regional win since 2007.