Forward Kiana Gandy came off the bench to score a career-high 19 points, helping Western Washington University defeat Simon Fraser University, 72-65, on Saturday, Feb. 28, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s basketball contest at Sam Carver Gymnasium on the WWU campus.
The game was regionally televised on ROOT Sports.
Taylor Peacocke added 12 points for the Vikings, who completed their regular season 19-8 overall and third in the GNAC at 13-5. WWU was 11-3 at Carver Gym this season.
Erin Chambers had 25 of her-game high 28 points in the second half for Simon Fraser, which fell to 14-12 overall and placed fourth in the GNAC at 10-8. It was the sixth loss in the last 10 games for the Clan.
WWU faces No. 6 seed Central Washington in the opening round of the GNAC Tournament at Billings, Mont., on Wednesday. SFU meets No. 5 Saint Martin’s in the other first-round matchup.
WWU has won the last two GNAC tournaments.
WWU never trailed, breaking away from a 6-6 tie with a 10-1 run to take a 16-7 lead with 12:30 left in the first half. The margin was never less than five the rest of the half, and the Vikings held a 35-27 lead at halftime.
SFU used a run of eight straight points, six of them by Chambers, to pull within two, 45-43, with 12:15 to play. But WWU responded shortly after with a 7-0 burst, going up 56-47, with 8:51 left.
Gandy had the first five points of the charge and scored 15 points in the second half. She had scored a total of just 18 points in the previous six games, and none in the last two contests.
Tia Briggs had 10 points for WWU, which shot 47.5 percent (28-of-59) from the field, including 53.8 percent (14-of-26) in the second half, and had a 37-23 advantage in rebounds.
It was the final home game for four WWU seniors — Katie Colard, Sydney Donaldson, Marcel Pounds and Jenni White.
The three newest members of the WWU Athletics Hall of Fame were introduced at halftime. The trio includes basketball guard Kerri Browitt-Caviezel, who co-captained WWU to a 30-win season in 1988-89; Jim Pearson, recognized as one of the country’s greatest runners for distances over 30 miles; and football defensive back Orlondo Steinauer, who holds WWU and Canadian Football League records.
WWU 72, Simon Fraser 65
Simon Fraser: Erin Chambers 28, Ellen Kett 9, Rachel Fradgley 8, Meg Wilson 8, Alisha Roberts 4, Elisa Homer 4, Katie Lowen 2, Smantha Beauchamp 2. Totals: 24-54 12-16 65.
WWU: Kiana Gandy 19, taylor Peacocke 12, Tia Briggs 10, Katie Colard 9, Kalya Bernsen 8, Sydney Donaldson 6, Jenni White 6, Marcel Pounds 2, Aleisha Hathaway 0. Totals: 28-59 15-17 72.
Half: WWU 35, Simon Fraser 27
3-point field goals — Simon Fraser: 5 (Chambers 3); WWU: 1 (Colard 1). Rebounds — Simon Fraser: 23 (Roberts 7); WWU: 37 (Bernsen 9). Assists — Simon Fraser: 12 (3 with 3); WWU: 10(White 5). Fouls — Simon Fraser: 14; WWU: 17 (Bernsen fouled out).