WWU Vikings

WWU opens GNAC tourney with 51-40 win over Central

Stingy defense and the game-high 17 points of forward Taylor Peacocke helped Western Washington University claim a 51-40 victory over Central Washington University on Wednesday, March 4, in an opening-round game of the 5th annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at Montana State Billings.

The triumph lifts the Vikings, the No. 3 seed in the tourney, to 20-8 overall. They face No. 2 seed and nationally No.20-ranked Seattle Pacific (21-5) in the semifinal round on Friday, March 6, at 11 a.m. PST. The championship game is Saturday, March 7, at 4:15 p.m. PST, with the winner earning an automatic berth in next week’s NCAA Division II West Regional.

Central, the No. 6 seed, ended its season at 12-15. Jasmin Edwards led the Wildcats with 14 points.

The Vikings, who entered the contest ranked in the top 10 in Division II in every shooting percentage category, being second in field-goal percentage at 47.7 percent, shot a season-low 28.6 percent (18 of 63) in scoring a season-low 51 points.

But WWU also had one of its finest defensive performances of the campaign, allowing a season-low 40 points, holding Central to 31.7 percent shooting (13 of 41) from the floor, and forcing 14 turnovers while committing just six.

The first half featured three ties and five lead changes, but the Vikings scored the final six points of the period to take a 24-20 lead at halftime.

WWU then took control, holding the Wildcats to just one field goal in the first nine minutes of the second half and grabbing a 37-24 lead on a Sydney Donaldson layup with 11:32 remaining.

The margin remained in double digits the rest of the way.

Guard Jenni White, last year’s tourney MVP, had 16 points for WWU, which has won the last two GNAC tournaments. Peacocke and White combined to go 13-of-23 from the field, Peacocke hitting 6 of 11 and White 7 of 12.

WWU 51, CWU 40

CENTRAL WASHINGTON U (12-15)

Edwards,Jasmin 4-11 4-8 14; Johnson,Courtney 2-8 2-2 7; Shine,Hannah 2-3 2-2 7; Parker,Jasmine 3-7 0-4 6; Locker,Erika 1-4 0-0 3; Berrysmith,Alexis 1-3 0-1 2; Valdez,Melanie 0-2 1-3 1; Matheson,India 0-2 0-0 0; Verduin,Beverly 0-0 0-0 0; Lorentson,Rachel 0-0 0-0 0; Heath,Chantel 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 13-41 9-20 40.

WESTERN WASHINGTON U (20-8)

Peacocke,Taylor 6-11 4-6 17; White,Jenni 7-12 1-4 16; Colard,Katie 1-11 3-4 6; Bernsen,Kayla 1-7 2-6 4; Donaldson,Sydney 2-8 0-0 4; Pounds,Marcel 1-1 0-0 3; Gandy,Kiana 0-6 1-2 1; Briggs,Tia 0-6 0-0 0; Hathaway,Aleisha 0-1 0-0 0; Albert,Rachel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-63 11-22 51.

Half: WWU 24, CWU 20

3-point field goals — Central Washington U 5-17 (Edwards,Jasmin 2-5; Johnson,Courtney 1-5; Shine,Hannah 1-2; Locker,Erika 1-2; Heath,Chantel 0-1; Valdez,Melanie 0-2), Western Washington U 4-15 (Colard,Katie 1-7; White,Jenni 1-3; Peacocke,Taylor 1-2; Pounds,Marcel 1-1; Gandy,Kiana 0-1; Donaldson,Sydney 0-1). Fouled out--Central Washington U-None, Western Washington U-None. Rebounds--Central Washington U 36 (Locker,Erika 8; Parker,Jasmine 8), Western Washington U 36 (Briggs,Tia 7; Gandy,Kiana 7; Donaldson,Sydney 7; Bernsen,Kayla 7). Assists--Central Washington U 6 (Edwards,Jasmin 3), Western Washington U 8 (White,Jenni 3). Total fouls--Central Washington U 17, Western Washington U 18. Technical fouls--Central Washington U-TEAM, Western Washington U-None. A-278

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