WWU wins GNAC tourney title with 60-40 victory over Simon Fraser
March 9, 2013
LACEY, Wash. - Western Washington University held Simon Fraser University to just six points in the first 14 minutes and never looked back, claiming a 60-40 victory in the championship game of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women's Basketball Tournament on Saturday between two nationally top 10 ranked teams at Marcus Pavilion on the campus of Saint Martin's University, in a contest televised by ROOT Sports.
Forward Trishi Williams (Sr., Mabton), who was named GNAC Tournament MVP, had game-highs of 16 points, six steals and five assists for the Vikings, who were ranked No.6 in this week's USA Today Sports/ESPN NCAA Division II Top 25 Poll and No.1 in the West Region rating, and improved to 25-3 with their eighth straight victory.
It is the first GNAC tournament crown for the Vikings, who earned the top seed and the regular-season title with a 17-1 conference record. WWU fell to Alaska Anchorage in the championship game the last two seasons.
No.2-seed Simon Fraser, which is ranked 10th nationally and No.2 in the West Region, fell to 23-5.
GNAC Player of the Year Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe had 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for the Clan, but Raincock-Ekunwe, who entered the game leading NCAA II nationally in field-goal percentage at 65.9 percent, was just 2-of-8 from the floor.
The Vikings held a 7-4 lead seven minutes into the game, then outscored SFU 12-2 over the next 7:30, with Sydney Donaldson (So., Edmonds/Edmonds-Woodway) scoring the first six points, to take a 19-6 lead with 5:40 remaining in the first half.
WWU held a 27-16 lead at halftime, holding the Clan to just 28 percent field-goal shooting (7-of-25).
SFU scored the first five points of the second half to narrow the margin to six, 27-21, on a Kristina Collins' 3-pointer a minute into the period. But the Vikings, using 60.9 percent field-goal shooting (14-of-23) in the second half, eventually pulled away, and the gap remained in double digits throughout the last 15 minutes.
It was the 19th victory in the last 20 games for the Vikings, with the only loss in that span being a 74-59 defeat at Simon Fraser on Feb. 9.
The GNAC tourney champion earns an automatic berth in the NCAA II West Regional next week at a site to be determined. Both WWU and Simon Fraser had already solidified at least at-large berths at regionals. The announcement of the full NCAA II National Tournament field, including the sites of the regionals, can be seen on NCAA.com on Sunday at 7 p.m. Pacific time.
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