Women’s basketball seeded sixth in GNAC tournament.

Guard Gracie Castenada goes for a layup against a University of Mary player. Castenada wears a white uniform and the other player wears a red and gold uniform.

The Vikings allowed the third fewest points in conference play and were first in field goal percent defense, holding opponents to 37.7 percent shooting in the regular season. // Photo by Jaden Moon

By James Ellis

The Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular season concluded Saturday, March 2 and the women’s basketball championship brackets have now been set. Western women’s basketball placed sixth in the conference, and will play in the quarterfinals Thursday.

The playoffs will begin at noon on Thursday, March 7, with a match between fifth-seed Concordia University and fourth-seed Central Washington University. The sixth-seed Vikings will play against third-seed Simon Fraser at 2:15 p.m..

This will be the third time this season the Vikings will meet Simon Fraser, and will try to continue their stellar performance against the Clan. Western won their first matchup this season 70-62 and clinched a playoff berth with a 67-49 win against the Clan on Tuesday, Feb. 26. Western is 51-36 all-time against Simon Fraser and has won eight of its last nine games.

Western women’s basketball ended the regular season with a record of 11-9 in-conference play and 16-12 overall, scoring an average of 65.4 points per game. The Vikings scored on 42.1 percent of field goals, and hit 29.3 percent of their 3-pointers. The women’s team averaged 40.4 rebounds per game, a plus-8.1 margin over opponents. They also manage an average of 4.1 blocks per game, compared to 3.5 by their opponents.

However, the Vikings gave up an average of 64.3 points per game to their opponents, with a plus-1.1 scoring margin. The Vikings committed an average of 19.5 turnovers per game compared to the 15.2 turnovers they forced against their opponents. They have allowed 248 steals by opponents, an average of 8.9 per game, compared to the Viking’s 219 steals and average of 7.8 per game.

Sophomore forward Kelsey Rogers leads the team with 337 points this season, an average of 12 points per game. Rogers also leads the team with 33 blocks. Junior forward Anna Schwecke leads the team in rebounds at 224, with 145 of them coming on the defensive end.

The GNAC tournament is single-elimination, and winners of the first game will move on to the semifinals Friday, March 8. Following that matchup, the winners will move on to the championship game, scheduled to take place at 5:20 p.m. Saturday, March 9.

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