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Wednesday, June 3, 2020

Vikings bumped from tournament in tight semifinal matchup against high-seeded opponent

Despite efficient shooting and good ball movement, the Vikings fell to the No. 2 seed Nighthawks in the Women’s GNAC Championship semifinals. // Photo by Oliver Hamlin

By Hannah Gordon-Kirk

The Western women’s basketball team ended its season Friday afternoon, after a hard fought 83-78 loss to No. 2 Northwest Nazarene University.

The first quarter was injected with high energy from Vikings guard Lexie Bland who went 2-3 from the field. The Vikings took a seven-point lead early in the game that stirred the competitive spirits of the favored visiting Nighthawks.

The first quarter’s frenetic energy carried through halftime. The fast-paced contest resulted in an offensive spectacle as the teams raced to trade buckets. Sophomore Kelsey Rogers put eight points on the board in the second quarter, going 4-5 on field goals. However, the Nighthawks fought back with a 15-6 run right before the end of the half, taking a one-point, 44-43 lead over the Vikings.

The two teams entered the second half with the same intensity as the first. However, shortly into the third quarter there was a big shift in momentum against the Vikings. The Nighthawks’ shooting and rebounds were on point, hitting 50.0 percent of their shots in the quarter, while the Vikings cooled off, only shooting 36.4 percent in the third.

The Nighthawks had an eight point lead on the Vikings when the fourth quarter started. With the score at  64-56 and 10 minutes left on the clock, it was anybody’s game going into the final quarter, but the Vikings couldn’t quite rally and fell short in the end. Despite hot shooting from sophomore guards Gracie Castaneda and Emma Duff, who had five 3-pointers between them, the Nighthawks’ 41 rebounds, more than double the Vikings’, made all the difference.  

In an unfortunate turn of events, Bland took a spill toward the end of the game, injuring her left leg. She did not return to the floor.

The Vikings continued to fall behind as the Nighthawks ran down the clock and got some fortunate shots to fall. The result, though disappointing for the 11-9, No. 6 seed Vikings, was well fought against the No. 2 seed Nighthawks.

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