By Ricky Rath
Western women’s basketball team couldn’t overcome its largest halftime deficit of the season, falling 75-63 to Seattle Pacific University at Sam Carver Gymnasium Thursday night.
Despite a strong effort in the third quarter, Western extended its losing streak to four games and fell to 6-9 overall, and 2-5 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
Sophomore Dani Iwami had a career best of 21 points, scoring 18 of them from beyond the arc.
The game remained close until the second quarter, when Seattle Pacific took a 15-point lead to shift the momentum. Seattle Pacific led at the end of the first half, 47-26.
Head coach Carmen Dolfo said she believes they didn’t play with enough confidence in the first half, leading them to fall into a big hole.
Both teams battled in a slow start to the third quarter until Western guards Iwami, Lexie Bland and Gracie Castaneda capitalized on turnovers and led Western on a 22-5 run.
Iwami’s high number of 3-point shots shrunk Seattle Pacific’s lead to 10 points.
Western rallied to 56-51 by the end of the third quarter after the Vikings’ defensive efforts held Seattle Pacific to nine points.
The comeback fell short after Seattle Pacific established a drive led by senior guard Rachel Shim’s back-to-back 3-point shots. Seattle Pacific outscored Western 19-12 in the final quarter to secure the victory.
Iwami said miscommunication among teammates in the first half led the team to fall behind until they regrouped during the halftime break.
Dolfo said the team rebuilt their confidence in the second half.
“We battled tonight and I am proud of how the team didn’t give up and played extremely hard all the way to the end of the game,” Dolfo said.
Freshman guard Castaneda was the second leading scorer of the night bringing in 12 points and a team high 4 assists. Sophomore guard Lexie Bland followed with 11 points, 3 assists and 3 steals.
The Vikings will face Saint Martin’s University (5-9, 1-5 GNAC) on Jan. 13 in Carver Gym as they look for their 1,000th win in the team’s 47-year history.