WWU Vikings

Vikings lose GNAC title game

The 2014-15 season came to an end for Western Washington University on Saturday, March 7, as the Vikings fell to NCAA Division II top-ranked University of Alaska Anchorage, 71-58, in the championship game of the fifth annual Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Tournament at Alterowitz Gymnasium on the campus of host Montana State Billings.

The Vikings, the No. 3 seed in the tourney, completed their season 21-9. Forward Sydney Donaldson led WWU with 14 points, 12 of them in the first 11 minutes.

UAA, the No. 1 seed, and ranked No.1 in the latest Top 25 Poll, improved to 29-1 with its 17th consecutive victory. Kiki Robertson, the tournament MVP, had a game-high 21 points, and Jenna Buchanan added 15 for the Seawolves, who earn an automatic berth in next week’s eight-team West Regional

The Vikings used a run of eight straight points to take a 12-5 lead 4:25 into the contest and stayed in front for more than 10 minutes after that, opening up a 29-21 advantage, their biggest of the game, on a Taylor Peacocke basket with 6:30 left in the first half.

But that proved to be WWU’s last field goal of the period, as the Seawolves closed the half on a 20-1 run to hold a 41-30 lead at halftime.

UAA led the entire second half. The Vikings did make one charge, pulling to within three, 61-58, on two Tia Briggs free throws with 4:42 left. WWU didn’t score again, and the Seawolves pulled away, hitting six of eight free throws in the final two minutes.

Jenni White had 12 points for WWU and Peacocke added 10. The Vikings shot just 33.3 percent (22 of 66) from the field, and were outrebounded 39-27.

WWU had won the last two GNAC tourney titles and has been in all five championship games. UAA won the first two championships in 2011 and 2012.

The Vikings reached the title contest after rallying from a 14-point deficit to beat No. 2 seed Seattle Pacific 72-67 in overtime in Friday’s semifinal. They opened the tourney with a 51-40 victory over No. 6 seed Central Washington.

WWU coach Carmen Dolfo had her 18th 20-win season.

It was the final game for four Viking seniors – Donaldson, White, Katie Colard and Marcel Pounds. Colard finished 11th in school history in career scoring with 1,207 points.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE 71, WESTERN WASHINGTON 58

WESTERN WASHINGTON (21-9)

Donaldson,Sydney 7-13 0-0 14; White,Jenni 4-9 2-3 12; Peacocke,Taylor 4-13 2-2 10; Briggs,Tia 3-6 3-4 9; Colard,Katie 1-10 4-5 7; Bernsen,Kayla 2-7 0-1 4; Gandy,Kiana 1-3 0-0 2; Hathaway,Aleisha 0-1 0-0 0; Pounds,Marcel 0-4 0-0 0. Totals 22-66 11-15 58.

ALASKA ANCHORAGE (29-1)

Robertson,Kiki 8-15 5-6 21; Buchanan,Jenna 5-11 1-2 15; Mullings,Megan 4-5 1-4 9; Madison,Jessica 1-5 6-6 9; Madison,Alli 4-10 0-0 8; Devine,Alysha 2-4 0-0 5; Wright,KeKe 1-3 2-5 4; Afoa,Sierra 0-2 0-1 0; Nelson,Jerica 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 25-55 15-24 71.

Half: AA 41, WWU 30

3-point field goals — 3-point goals--Western Washington 3-22 (White,Jenni 2-6; Colard,Katie 1-8; Gandy,Kiana 0-1; Hathaway,Aleisha 0-1; Pounds,Marcel 0-3; Peacocke,Taylor 0-3), Alaska Anchorage 6-15 (Buchanan,Jenna 4-6; Devine,Alysha 1-3; Madison,Jessica 1-4; Madison,Alli 0-2). Fouled out--Western Washington-None,

Alaska Anchorage-None. Rebounds--Western Washington 27 (Bernsen,Kayla 9), Alaska Anchorage 39 (Wright,KeKe 9). Assists--Western Washington 13 (Donaldson,Sydney 5), Alaska Anchorage 9 (Robertson,Kiki 6). Total fouls--Western Washington 19, Alaska Anchorage 18. Technical fouls--Western Washington-None, Alaska Anchorage-None. A-475

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