The No. 2 seed Western Washington Vikings were eliminated from the GNAC Tournament with a 78-60 loss vs. No. 3 seed Montana State Billings Friday, March 4, in the semifinal game at Marcus Pavilion.
The Vikings (20-9) were eliminated from the conference tournament and will learn the fate of their postseason hopes Sunday when the NCAA Division II Field of 64 is announced.
Junior guard Taylor Peacocke led the Vikings with 17 points, including 3 for 7 from three-point range. Junior forward Kiana Gandy added 16 points and senior center Kayla Bernsen recorded eight points, nine rebounds and four blocked shots.
WWU was held to 37.5 percent shooting (21 for 56), including a 29.2 percent mark in the first half (7 for 24). WWU entered the game ranked No. 6 in NCAA Division II with a 47.5 percent field goal percentage.
MSUB was led by a double-double from first-team All-GNAC selection Alisha Breen (23 points, 10 rebounds). Rylee Kane (11 points), Monica Grimsrud (11 points) and Janiel Olson (10 points, nine rebounds) rounded out the Yellowjackets reaching double figures.
The Vikings jumped out to the early lead scoring the first seven points of the game, but the Yellowjackets battled back with a 9-2 run to tie the game at 9-9. The quarter ended 16-16 with Briggs (four points) and Hathaway (three points) leading a balanced attack that seven players reach the scoring column.
MSUB pulled away scoring the first 12 points of the 2nd quarter and went into halftime with a 33-23 advantage and never trailed again. Peacocke ended WWU’s scoring draught with a three-pointer to end the Yellowjackets 12-0 run and led the Vikings with five points in the quarter. Billings shot 40.6 percent in the first half (13 for 32) compared to a 29.2 percent mark from Western (7 for 24).
The Yellowjackets continued to pull away with strong 3rd quarter out-scoring the Vikings 18-11. A high-paced fourth quarter conclude the game with MSUB out-scoring the Vikings 27-26. Kandy and Peacocke each scored eight points in the final quarter.
Game Note: Kayla Bernsen tied the WWU career games played record appearing in her 122nd game and also became the fourth player in GNAC history to record at least 1,000 points, 650 rebounds and 200 blocked shots.