POMONA, Calif. - Cold-shooting Western Washington University rallied from a 12-point deficit, but could never take the lead in the second half as it fell 77-70 to Simon Fraser University in the first game of the opening round of the NCAA Division II Women's Basketball West Regional on Friday at Kellogg Gym on the campus of host Cal Poly Pomona.
Guard Katie Colard scored a team-high 20 points for the defending champion and No. 6 seeded Vikings, who ended their season 19-10. Taylor Peacocke had 12 points and Tia Briggs 11.
Simon Fraser, the No. 3 seed, improved to 20-9 with its first win over WWU in three tries over the last two weeks. The Clan was led by the game-high 26 points of forward Erin Chambers, who entered the contest ranked seventh nationally in scoring with a 22.6 average. Meg Wilson had 15 points, 13 in the first half, and 11 rebounds.
Trailing by 12 points, 43-31, at halftime, WWU was still behind by nine, 61-52, midway through the second half. The Vikings then used an 11-2 run, Colard scoring six points, to tie the contest at 63-all with 6:47 to go when Sydney Donaldson made one of two free throws.
WWU was still within three points, 73-70, with 1:36 remaining, but missed four shots while SFU made four of six free throws to put the game away.
"We got too far down and it took a lot of energy to try and pull ourselves out," WWU head coach Carmen Dolfo, whose team was making its sixth straight regional appearance and 15th in 16 years as a NCAA II member, said in a news release.
WWU shot just 39.1 percent (25 of 64) from the field, hitting only 35.7 percent (10 of 28) in the first half, but was 19 of 23 (82.6 percent) at the free throw line. Colard, who was 8 of 19 from the floor, had a 33-game streak of hitting at least one 3-pointer end as she did not connect on three attempts.
SFU made just 19-of-36 free throws (52.8 percent). Chambers hit only 6 of 21 from the field, but was 13-of-16 at the line.
There were 12 lead changes and six ties in the first nine minutes of the game before SFU closed the opening period with a 25-12 run.
Sarah Hill, WWU's only senior, grabbed 12 rebounds to tie for game-high honors with SFU's Rebecca Langmead, who also had nine points. Donaldson finished with nine points and six rebounds for the Vikings.
SFU, which entered the game ranked 10th nationally in 3-point percentage defense at 25.4, held WWU to 1 of 5 from beyond the arc.
The meeting was the fourth this season between the two teams with each taking two wins. Last Saturday, the Vikings overcame a 16-point deficit to defeat SFU 78-74 to win the Great Northwest Athletic Conference title and earn an automatic berth at regionals.
Prior to the regional loss, WWU had won 16 of its last 20 games following a 3-5 start.
SIMON FRASER 77, WESTERN WASHINGTON 70
WESTERN WASHINGTON (19-9)
Colard,Katie 8-19 4-4 20; Peacocke,Taylor 3-12 6-7 12; Briggs,Tia 3-7 5-5 11; Donaldson,Sydney 4-7 1-2 9; Hill,Sarah 2-5 3-4 7; Gandy,Kiana 2-7 0-1 4; White,Jenni 2-3 0-0 4; Pounds,Marcel 1-4 0-0 3; Albert,Rachel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-64 19-23 70.
SIMON FRASER (20-9)
Chambers,Erin 6-21 13-16 26; Wilson,Meg 6-9 2-6 15; Langmead,Rebecca 4-7 1-6 9; Lowen,Katie 3-5 1-4 7; Van Laare,Kia 2-3 1-2 6; Reist,Chelsea 3-5 0-0 6; Petit,Marie-Line 2-8 1-2 5; Kett,Ellen 1-1 0-0 3; Sider,Ariana 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-59 19-36 77.
Half: SF 43, WWU 31
3-point goals--Western Washington 1-5 (Pounds,Marcel 1-1; Peacocke,Taylor 0-1; Colard,Katie 0-3), Simon Fraser 4-11 (Kett,Ellen 1-1; Van Laare,Kia 1-1; Chambers,Erin 1-4; Wilson,Meg 1-2; Petit,Marie-Line 0-2; Lowen,Katie 0-1). Fouled out--Western Washington-White,Jenni; Donaldson,Sydney; Hill,Sarah, Simon Fraser-Reist,Chelsea. Rebounds--Western Washington 41 (Hill,Sarah 12), Simon Fraser 41 (Langmead,Rebecca 12). Assists-Western Washington 10 (Briggs,Tia 2; White,Jenni 2; Hill,Sarah 2; Colard,Katie 2), Simon Fraser 12 (Kett,Ellen 4; Lowen,Katie 4). Total fouls-Western Washington 29, Simon Fraser 23. Technical fouls-Western Washington-Donaldson,Sydney, Simon Fraser-None. A-273