Junior forward Tia Briggs scored a game-high 21 points, helping Western Washington University survive a second-half rally by Northwest Nazarene University to claim a 59-56 victory in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s basketball game Thursday, Jan. 6, at Whatcom Pavilion.
It was the eighth victory in the last nine games for the Vikings, who improved to 9-4 overall and remained unbeaten in the GNAC at 5-0. The Crusaders had their three-game win streak snapped falling to 4-7 overall and 2-3 in conference play.
Western held a 46-30 lead late in the third quarter, but NNU ran off 11 consecutive points to close the period, to narrow the margin to five, and eventually took its first lead of the game, 52-51, on a CoCo Gall free throw with 2:49 remaining.
An Ellie Logan drive put the Crusaders up by three at 54-51, but the Vikings bounced back with seven straight points. Junior guard Aleisha Hathaway started the run, hitting a driving layup and free throw with 1:38 left to tie the game, and junior forward Kiana Gandy hit two free throws with 1:03 remaining to put the Vikings in front for good at 55-53.
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NNU had a final chance to tie the game, but Cierra White’s 3-point attempt from the right corner with two seconds left hit the rim three times before caroming off.
Junior guard Taylor Peacocke had 11 points for the Vikings and Hathaway added 10 points and seven assists.
Briggs was 8 of 12 from the field, and was the only Viking to have a field goal in a 14-minute stretch midway through the second half.
WWU held NNU to 34.5 percent field goal shooting (19 of 55). Taylor Simmons led Northwest Nazarene with 20 points.
The Vikings return to action Saturday against Central Washington at 7 p.m. at Whatcom Pavilion.