By Tyler Urke
The Western women’s basketball team played with a sense of urgency against Saint Martin’s University Thursday, Feb. 8.
“I thought we played a complete game tonight and really think we are clicking on defense,” sophomore forward Anna Schwecke said. “When we play defense and rebound like this, good things happen on offense.”
With the chance to take sole possession of the last spot in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships, the Vikings used multiple 10-point runs to earn a 79-51 victory over the Saints at Marcus Pavilion in Lacey, Washington.
Western (11-12, 7-8 GNAC) is on a 4-game winning streak with just five games remaining in the regular season.
Western came out hot and stayed hot, using a 9-2 run to open the game, but it was quickly answered by the Saints with a 7-0 run of their own. But Western wasn’t done as it went on a 19-6 run to end the first quarter leading 28-16.
A 10-2 run sparked the Vikings at the start of the second quarter, and Western went into halftime doubling up the Saints point total 42-26.
The Vikings had four players score in double figures, with Schwecke leading the way with 13 points. Five of her six points came from free throws after the 6-foot-1 Schwecke received entry pass after entry pass in the post and whirled toward the hoop before she was hacked.
Trailing just behind her in scoring were three Vikings who scored 12 points each. Redshirt freshman Gracie Castaneda did it on 2-for-3 3-point shooting and sophomore guard Dani Iwami shot 4-for-6 from deep.
“Everyone contributed something tonight,” Schwecke said. “It was a great team effort.”
Freshman guard Emma Duff returned to Lacey, a 10-minute drive from her hometown of Tumwater, and scored 12 points on 5-for-7 shooting. Each time she drilled a shot, a subsection of the Saint Martin’s crowd let out a roar.
Western shot 50 percent from the field and 50 percent from the 3-point line. The Vikings collected 45 rebounds compared to the Saints’ 23, with junior guard Bobbi Westendorf pulling in a team-high 11.
The Vikings next test is against Seattle Pacific University (17-5, 11-4 GNAC) at 7 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10, at Brougham Pavilion in Seattle.