Vikings fall 79-68 to Chico State in opening round of NCAA II West Regional
March 12, 2010
SEATTLE, Wash. - Center Jessica Summers (Sr., Blaine) had game-highs of 27 points and nine rebounds, but it wasn't enough as Western Washington University fell to Chico State, 79-68, in a NCAA Division II Women's Basketball West Regional first-round game Friday at Royal Brougham Pavilion on the campus of host Seattle Pacific University.
The Vikings, ranked No.18 in the latest Women's Basketball Coaches Association/NCAA II Top 25 Poll and the No.3 seed in the region, concluded their season 23-5. Guard Amanda Dunbar (Jr., Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck) had 18 points and six assists for Western, and guard Ashley Fenimore (Lynnwood/Meadowdale) added 10 points.
"We just made too many mistakes today at both ends of the court," said Western coach Carmon Dolfo. "Chico State stepped up and hit big shots when they needed to."
Guards Synchro Bull and Natasha Smith each had 15 points for Chico State, which improved to 22-9. Forward Christine Vest added 11 points and seven rebounds for the No.6 seed Wildcats, who won for the 14th time in their last 16 games.
Western had a 3-point lead, 64-61, after a basket by Summers with 5:39 left, but that proved to be the last Viking field goal of the game. A layup by Natasha Richardson gave the Wildcats the lead for good at 65-64 with 4:24 to play. The Vikings were still down by only three, 71-68, with under a minute left, but Bull scored with the shot clock running down to push the margin back to five, and Chico State then pulled away by hitting six straight free throws.
Western had led by eight points, 50-42, with 16:37 to play, after an 8-0 run that featured five points by Fenimore, but Chico State scored the next 10 points to take a 52-50 advantage with 14 minutes left.
The Vikings, who beat the Wildcats, 80-59, in Bellingham on Dec. 20, entered Friday's game second nationally in both field-goal percentage (48.4) and 3-point percentage (41.1), but shot just 37.3 percent (25-of-67) from the field, including 30.0 percent (6-of-20) on 3-pointers.
They played half a game last time, and they played a full game this time," Dolfo said. "They just made plays, and we didn't."
It was Western's 10th national tournament appearance in 11 years as a NCAA member.
Chico State will face either No.2 seed UC San Diego (24-4) or No.7 seed Humboldt State (19-10) in semifinal action Saturday (5 p.m.).
We'll be able to reflect that we accomplished a lot this year," said Dolfo. "But right now, that's kind of hard to do."
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