March 18, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Center Britt Harris (Sr., Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck) had a team-high 14 points and game-highs of 10 rebounds and four blocked shots to lead tourney host Western Washington University to a 71-63 triumph over Cal State University Monterey Bay in Monday's semifinal round of the West Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball National Tournament at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the campus of host Western Washington University.
The Vikings, the No.1 seed in the West Region and ranked fifth in the USA Today NCAA Division Top 25 National Poll, improved to 27-3 overall and face No.2 seed Simon Fraser in the regional championship game Tuesday (6 p.m.). The Clan defeated Grand Canyon, 76-59, in Monday's other semifinal.
CSUMB, the No.5 seed in the tourney, completed its season 20-9. Center Brittani Jefferson led the Otters with 17 points.
The score was tied at 40-40 on a 3-pointer by CSUMB's Stefanie Corgel with 13:34 remaining, the first trey of the game for either team. The Vikings seemed to take control with 12 straight points in a span of a little over two minutes, capped by a Jenni White (So., Spokane/East Valley) 3-pointer, to take a 52-40 lead with 10:04 to play.
CSUMB responded with 10 straight points of its own, narrowing the gap to two, 52-50, with 5:56 left, but never got that close again, as WWU scored the next seven points.
"I was really impressed with Monterrey Bay," said WWU coach Carmen Dolfo. "That was one of toughest defensive teams we've seen all year."
WWU had leads of seven and six in the opening half, but CSUMB responded both times to tie the game. The Vikings held a narrow 32-31 lead at halftime.
Forward Trishi Williams (Sr., Mabton) and guard Corinn Waltrip (Sr., Tigard, OR) each had 13 points for WWU. Forward Sarah Hill (Jr., Richmond, VA/Lloyd C. Bird) added 12 and White had 10 off the bench.
Waltrip became the 22nd player in school history to pass the 1,000 point mark in career scoring, concluding the contest with 1,009.
The triumph propels the Vikings to their first regional final since 2002.
WWU is now 15-0 at home and has won 19 consecutive victories at Carver Gym over the last two seasons.
CAL STATE MONTEREY BAY POSTGAME QUOTES
COACH RENEE JIMENEZ (On the tight, physical nature of the game) We're used to that type of game. We don't have a bad team in our conference - no gimme nights. It was nothing new for us. Seven or eight lead changes in the game - that wasn't a really big deal.
(On the outcome) I thought we until the very end. Unfortunately, we haven't given up 71 points in regulation all season long. We don't have the horses in terms of having five kids in double figures - that's not the way we play. They hit big shots. They're well coached. Obviously, Coach Dolfo has been here longer than CSMB has been in existence. We want to aspire to get to their level. That's our goal. We're still laying that foundation.
(On a difference-maker in the game) We made some really uncharacteristic plays. Any time you have 19 turnovers in NCAA game, it's going to be a really big hole to come out of. Our two point guards are sophomores, and for them to be on this big of a state was tough. I said to them, `Hey, it's time for one of you to step up and be a junior. But they're still really young kids who have to carry the water and do the laundry.
JESSICA FONTENETTE (On keeping the game close throughout) We never give up. It showed in the Chico game on Saturday. We look at the score and sometimes, it kind of bugs us. But we come together and say we're still find and we can still do this. It's a game of runs, and they had more runs than us tonight. But we stayed together.
WESTERN WASHINGTON POSTGAME QUOTES
(On the game) The game was indicative of all year - we can go up and down, and maybe sometimes, it doesn't look pretty, but we find a way and we find a way together.
(On the physical nature of the game) They were a very, very physical team - probably one of the most physical teams we've had. Everything in the post was just pushed. I think it was just maybe a little bit shocking - we got ourselves into a turnover situation and didn't take care of the ball. Once we settled down, we hit some big shots when we needed to, we moved the ball when we needed to and I felt like defensively, we did a much better job in the second half.
(On four players with four assists) That has been our bread and butter all year. There's not one (particular) go-to player on our team. We really try to find the open person. We know we have a number of people who can score That sometimes can make us hard to guard that they're not looking at just one thing. They did a good job on Britt tonight and pushed her out so far. But other people stepped up. Sarah Hill stepped up making some huge shot. Jenny White, came in and sparked us. She kind of got us going. She's pretty quick, When she works hard and gets after it, she adds so much to our team.
(On playing Simon Fraser in the final) They've been playing well in the tournament. Certainly, what happened in Olympia (a 60-40 win in the GNAC Tournament) is erased fro our minds. We know what a great team they are. They've got great 3-point shooters, and a great inside game We know it's going to be every possession. Last weekend was no indication of what it's going to be tomorrow night.
Britt Harris (On the game) It was a really physical game - a lot of pushing and a lot of battling back and forth between the players. It was a good game, but very physical.
(On leading the team with 10 rebounds) It's on ongoing joke with Sarah (Hill) and Trishi (Williams) - it's a bet to see if I can out-rebound them. It's kind of exciting. It's a little inside joke - I did it.
(On getting to the regional final) It's so exciting. For four years, we've been working so hard. We said our goal was GNAC and then some. We got GNAC, and now we're working on our `then some.' It's great to see the goal we've been working on for four years finally come true.
Sarah Hill (On the game) They never took a play off. We knew every possession mattered. It's fun to be the sneaky player. I'm not on the scouting report as a scorer, I knew needed to step up and Carmen said I needed to be a threat.
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