The fifth-ranked Western Washington University women's basketball team saw its season come to an end in the NCAA Division II national semifinals on Wednesday, March 27, in San Antonio, Texas, with a 66-54 loss to second-ranked Ashland.
The Eagles (36-1) advance to the national championship game for the second straight year, after losing to Shaw for the title last year. They will face Dowling for this season's crown on Friday, March 29.
The Vikings (29-4) suffered their first loss in 13 games, after they struggled tremendously from the floor.
One night after shooting 55.2 percent from the field in a national quarterfinal win over Nova Southeastern, the Vikings hit only 18 of 61 attempts from the floor on Wednesday (29.5 percent).
Western's struggles were apparent early, as it hit only one of its first 14 shots and fell in a 16-5 hole. Though the Vikings drew back to within six points, they still finished only 8 for 32 from the floor in the half.
While hitting only eight field goals in the half, the Vikings turned the ball over nine times and trailed 29-19 at the break.
An 8-0 run by Western early in the second half, highlighted by Western's first 3-pointers of the night from Jenni White and Katie Colard drew the Vikings within two, 35-33 with just over 13 minutes to play, but the Eagles re-established supremacy with a 14-2 run to take 51-37 lead.
Corinn Waltrip scored 22 of her game-high 28 points in the second half of her final game for Western, while Britt Harris wrapped up her career in a Vikings uniform with 11 points and nine rebounds. White was the only other WWU player to score more than three points with seven.
Kari Daugherty, the defending WBCA national player of the year, led Ashland with 24 points, while Daiva Gerbec scored 19.