By Mitch Farley
The women’s basketball team came out victorious in their season opener Monday, Oct. 22, against the Trinity Western Spartans at Sam Carver Gymnasium. The Vikings showed a dominating force against the Spartans, beating them 89-45. The game marked the start of Head Coach Carmen Dolfo’s 28th season leading the team.
Junior guard Dani Iwami was the leading scorer of the game with 26 points, followed by junior center Anna Schwecke, who added 16 points and four rebounds to the board. Schwecke fired accurate shots all night with an impressive field goal percentage of 70 percent. The Vikings came out of the locker room booming with energy and started the game with a full-court press, which Dolfo said the team normally doesn’t do.
“We have a lot of quick players, so we’re trying to see if we can press a little bit more this year,” Dolfo said.
The two teams were neck-and-neck in the first quarter but gained momentum when Iwami hit a deep 3-pointer and then stole the Spartans’ inbound pass for another score toward the end of the quarter.
The score was tied 17-17 going into the second quarter but constant pressure from the Vikings’ full-court press allowed them to go on a 16-0 run. Iwami went 2-3 from 3-point range and Schwecke contributed 10 points for the quarter. Junior guard Lexi Bland also added two field goals for the Vikings.
Spartans senior forward Tessa Ratzlaff showed aggressive defense with nine rebounds and led the team with 16 points on the night, but Schwecke said she saw the senior forward as an opportunity to get better.
“She’s a good player, but I just needed to fight back harder because it’s going to be a battle, but it’s a challenge you want to take on,” Schwecke said.
The Spartans also exhibited a physical game on offense but the Viking’s defense held strong in player-to-player coverage and outscored the Spartans by 23 points in the second half.
“They were a really physical team and I’m proud of the way we were able to push back and scrap,” Schwecke said.
The Vikings played three true freshmen on the night, guards Avery Dykstra and Mollie Olson and forward Katrina Gimmaka. The three scored a combined 21 points.
Dolfo said she was pleased with the performance of the three and their composure on the court.
“They came out and they weren’t afraid to play their game,” Dolfo said.
The Vikings’ total shooting percentage was 45.7 percent from the field and 36 percent from the 3-point range. Dykstra scored two big 3-pointers and Iwami had an outstanding four on the night.
“The whole team contributed tonight,” Schwecke said. “I’m proud of the whole team.”