March 19, 2013
BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Guard Corinn Waltrip (Sr., Tigard, OR), the tournament's Most Outstanding Player, scored a game-high 29 points to lift tourney host Western Washington University to a 75-58 triumph over Simon Fraser University in Tuesday's championship game of the West Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division II Women's Basketball Tournament before a crowd of 1,129 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 II Top 25 National Poll, improved to 28-3 in claiming their first West Regional championship since 2000. They will face South Region champion Nova Southeastern in a national quarterfinal at San Antonio, Tex., on Tues., March. 26.
Simon Fraser, the No.2 seed and ranked No.11 nationally, concluded its season 25-6. Center Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Player of the Year, had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Clan, scoring 17 of her points in the first half.
WWU held a narrow 41-40 lead early in the second half, but ran off 10 straight points in a two-minute span to establish a 51-40 lead with 11:28 to play, the biggest of the game to that point. SFU never got closer than eight points after that.
Waltrip was 10-of-15 from the field, including 5-of-9 on 3-pointers. Center Britt Harris (Sr., Marysville/Marysville-Pilchuck) and forward Trishi Williams (Sr., Mabton) each had 11 points for the Vikings, who shot 54.2 percent (26-of-48) from the floor, including 8-of-16 (50.0 percent) on treys.
Carla Wyman came off the bench to score 10 points for the Clan.
SFU used a run of six straight points to take the biggest lead of the first half, 28-22, with 4:55 remaining, and still was up six, 29-23, with under three minutes to go in the period. But the Vikings closed with a 9-1 run, Waltrip scoring seven of the points, giving WWU a 32-30 halftime lead.
"The turning point was the last few minutes of the first half," said WWU coach Carmen Dolfo. "We finally picked up our defense. In the second half, we came out and did the same thing. That's our bread and butter, when we play well defensively, our offense gets going."
WWU is now 16-0 at home and has 20 consecutive victories at Carver Gym over the last two seasons.
Joining Waltrip on the region all-tournament team were Raincock-Ekunwe, Harris, Judy Jones of Grand Canyon, and Brittani Jefferson of Cal State Monterrey Bay.
WESTERN WASHINGTON POSTGAME QUOTES
COACH Carmen Dolfo
(On the game) We're just thrilled and excited. I'm just so proud of these young women who have worked so hard. We've gone through a lot this year together. Tonight, Corinn was obviously hot, but I felt it was such a team effort. They got her the ball. It really feels like a team effort.
(On doubling down on defense late in the first half and late in the game) The turning point was maybe the last three or four minutes of the first half. We finally picked up our defense and got it right. We reminded ourselves that's what we needed to do. The second half, we came out and did the same thing on defense. That's been our bread and butter all year.
(On defending against Nayo, especially after she had 17 first-half points) We tried to be a little more physical on her. We felt like we were giving her too much room to do her thing. We rotated different people on her and put fresh bodies on her. The fatigue factor in the second half helped us. Our post players really did a good job of stepping up and really wanted to battle.
(On a key game this season that helped them get to this point) The biggest turning point was at Simon Fraser when they kicked our butt. The seniors came to my house late at night and sat down and talked about things we needed to change. They all stepped up and really put forth an effort to make some significant changes.From then on, things started to roll for us.
Britt Harris (On defending against Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe) She's always a tough player to go against. She's great, super athletic. We just kept rotating people on her, trying to keep fresh legs.
(On more solid rebounding in the second half) That was one of our focuses for the second half, knowing they're great rebounding team. Nayo is extremely athletic. We wanted to block people out, get them out of the play, knowing that someone is going to come through from our team and pick the ball up.
Corinn Waltrip (On her game) I think I just got some open looks and knocked them down tonight. My teammates were looking for me.
(On getting to the Elite Eight) It's unreal. We've been working so hard for this our entire career, the whole year. As Carm says, it's icing on the cake. We've had a great season, and every win from her on out is icing on the cake. It's a great feeling to know that we're in the top eight in the country.
SIMON FRASER POSTGAME QUOTES
COACH BRUCE LANGFORD
(On the game) The second half really started in that run (Western had) in the first half when we were up six and a chance to make it eight. We had a couple little miscues that got them some momentum and feeling good about themselves. They played a lot tougher than we did after that point. The second half, it was very hard for us to move, and for some reason, we stopped playing. We're not very effective when we do that, and that hurt immensely.
(On what he emphasized at halftime) We talked bout the fact that we helped off of a couple of their kids kids that our scouting report says not to help off. One of the things about Corinn Waltrip is she often runs the offense and doesn't really score that much -- unless situation arises where she thinks it's needed. She obviously came to play today in a little different way than she sometimes does.
(On the crowd) We needed to control the crowd a little bit. They're an emotional team, they play off of that emotion. We needed to do as much as we could not to feed that emotion. In the first half, we did. We know their team very well. They have a couple kids who have singular skill sets. When you let singular skill sets do their skill sets and crowd goes crazy, we're not doing our job.
(On Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe getting just two points in the second half) Nayo got a little tired and less assertive because of that tiredness. That's one of the main things. The game is very physical, and as she gets tired, the physicality gets to her, she shoots lower percentages and misses a shot.
(On a difference-maker in the game) I thought we stood around a lot on offense tonight. When we stand around, we don't get our kinds of shots, and when we don't shoot well, we're not very good. We shot pretty well in the two games prior to this and didn't shoot it well today.
ERIN CHAMBERS (On the season) I thought we had a raelly good season. Getting to this point was extraordinary for us here.
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How To Follow Today's Basketball Games
WWU men play Chico State at 12 pm PT in San Diego, WWU women play Cal State East Bay at 1 pm PT in Anchorage
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The No. 3-seed Vikings will play Friday at 1 pm PT/12 pm AKT against No. 6-seed Cal State East Bay