Vikings dominate season opener
Western’s women’s basketball team beat the University of Alaska Fairbanks Nanooks 90-59 in the team’s Great Northwest Athletic Conference opener on Thursday, Dec. 3.
As the game ended and the team celebrated the win, an announcement was made that Head Coach Carmen Dolfo had just become the coach with the most wins in Western history — 519. The last head coach to hold this title was Brad Jackson with 518 wins during his 1985-2012 career, according to Western Athletics.
The Vikings came out with high intensity. Senior center Kayla Bernsen threw up two points followed by a three-pointer from junior forward Kiana Gandy to start the game. At the end of the first quarter, Western led Alaska 19-13.
In the second quarter, the Vikings were persistent on defense, pressuring the Nanooks at the net and dominating on offense. At the rim Western was fierce, coming up with the rebound 47 times, compared to 20 for Alaska. Bernsen alone had a game-high of 11 rebounds.
“Our defense is getting better,” Dolfo said. “I think we really shared the ball and we did a really good job of finding the open person.”
The Vikings kept the lead, entering halftime eight points ahead of the Nanooks.
“We said the score was 0-0,” Bernsen said. “Fairbanks is a good team and for the past few years, they didn’t have a super good record, so they know how to play when they’re down.”
Starting the second half, the Vikings were determined to stay ahead, and to continue to widen the team’s lead. With back-to-back three-pointers by freshman guard Amanda Lance and redshirt freshman forward Alyssa Evans, Western began to bury Alaska.
“We really felt like the third quarter would be huge for us. We didn’t want to give them confidence coming back into it,” Dolfo said.
As the Vikings carried the game, the team continued to scream and shout encouragement to each other.
“During the start of the season, our third quarters have been downhill,” Bernsen said. “We really wanted to make sure we came out with fire and that we keep attacking.”
Western is now 1-0 in conference play.
The Vikings take on University of Alaska Anchorage at 4 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 5, at the Whatcom Community College Pavilion.