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Bernsen leads Vikings to victory on senior night

Amid a scene of smiling fans and pink poms-poms, Western’s women’s basketball team won in dominant fashion on senior night for its sixth win in a row against Saint Martin’s University, 81-52 on Feb. 13.

The team’s lone senior, Kayla Bernsen, had a double-double with 15 points and 10 rebounds.

Nearing the end of her fifth season with the Vikings, Bernsen has helped her team to a 109-37 record during her career so far, along with 187 career blocks, 15 double-doubles, and is nearing 1,000 career points.

During the pre-game introductions, Bernsen was honored for her outstanding play and her longstanding efforts.

“This is a culmination of five years of a lot of hard work, but more importantly five years of all the support from my parents and the coaches, so really it’s for them,” Bernsen said.

Along with celebrating senior players, the night was the Pink Zone game of the year. Pink Zone is a global initiative by the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association dedicated to raising awareness for breast cancer. The Vikings ended up raising $595 for breast cancer awareness by the end of the game according to Head Coach Carmen Dolfo.

Bernsen expressed what the Pink Zone means to her.

“It’s really important,” Bernsen said. “Especially to honor the women in our community. We’re really all about strong female leaders and role models, and people who overcome that kind of fight. [Playing basketball] is nothing compared to that.”

The game remained close in the first quarter, as the Saints held their only lead early in the night. Sparked by two shots from deep and six assists by junior guard Aleisha Hathaway, the Vikings went on a 30-8 run to end the first half.

From there, the Vikings played stout second-half defense for their second game in a row, holding Saint Martin’s to 31.8 percent from the field.

“We stuck to the game plan,” Hathaway said. “In-and-out movement was great. We were looking for the extra pass and that’s why we won by so much.”

After the game, players gathered on the court with fans and family members to sign autographs. While trying to sign some autographs of her own, Dolfo expressed how Bernsen has affected the team.

“She is just an outstanding player at both ends of the floor and an outstanding person,” Dolfo said. “She’s got fire and energy and gets everyone going.”

Hathaway also shared some of her thoughts on Bernsen.

“She means a lot [to me],” Hathaway said. “I’ve played my whole four years with her, so we’ve gotten really close. She brings such an energy and passion to our team and it’s unlike anything else.”

Now with an 14-2 record in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference play and 18-6 overall, Western’s next game will be on the road against Simon Fraser University on Feb. 16th.

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