The Western women’s basketball team lost their first home game of the season on Feb. 13 at Sam Carver Gymnasium. After a season-high six-game winning streak was snapped on Feb. 8 against Saint Martin’s University, this is the Vikings’ second consecutive loss.
Western was up against Northwest Nazarene University, ending the game with a score of 79-72. Northwest currently holds the second place standing in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, while the Vikings hold fourth place.
Western outshot Northwest with a 40.4% shooting average, versus Northwest’s 35.4%. However, Western committed a season-high 29 turnovers, resulting in 34 points for the other team.
“I think we just need to work together as a team, because that’s when we’re at our greatest,” junior guard Gracie Castaneda said.
Castaneda scored 12 points during last Thursday’s game; she is one of the four Vikings to reach double-figures in scoring.
Junior guard Emma Duff, who led the Vikings with an 18-point, 10-rebound double-double, said it didn’t matter what the scoreboard said, she knew they would always fight to get back in the game.
“I was proud of how hard we fought at the end,” Duff said. “We don’t really have much time to dwell over it. We have to get ready for the next game.”
The Vikings started the game with a rocky 30.8 shooting percentage, only scoring 14 points in the first quarter. The team came back stronger in the second quarter, outscoring Northwest’s 21-10 with a field goal percentage of 53.3.
Duff believes one of the reasons Northwest was able to beat Western Saturday was because they gained an advantage over them in the first quarter.
“We were waiting to see what they were going to do, instead of setting the tone in the first place,” Duff said.
While Northwest set the tone for the first quarter, Western set the tone for the second. After starting with a 3-pointer from junior guard Maddison Coleman and going on a 12-0 run, the Vikings kept Northwest scoreless for over half the quarter.
According to senior center, Anna Schwecke, Northwest’s style involves a lot of in-your-face basketball. She said the point of this plan is to make your opponent panic, which Western played into.
The first time Western played Northwest this season was on Jan. 18 at the team’s Idaho court. Western won 94-83, the teams have now both beat each other on the road.
“We had all their tendencies, we knew exactly what [Northwest] was going to do, it was just a matter of executing it,” sophomore forward Katrina Gimmaka said.
With less than four minutes remaining in the third quarter, Northwest hit three consecutive 3-pointers, starting an 11-0 run to go into the lead with the score at 50-42.
“[Northwest ] wanted it more than us, or worked harder for it, they go after it,” Gimmaka said. “They press a lot, they get their hands on a lot of things and they just go, go, go.”
The fourth quarter brought a 15-7 run for the Vikings including a 9-2 spurt bringing Western one point behind Northwest at 69-68. Northwest turned around and scored five consecutive shots, sealing their win at the free-throw line.
“I think we did a good job in the second half of coming together and really fighting back and trying,” Gimmaka said.
According to Gimmaka, head coach Carmen Dolfo told her team that they needed to get down and get gritty, fight back and want the ball more.
“Obviously everyone wants to win a game, so I think we did a good job of fighting back,” Gimmaka said.
With a recent win of 77-69 Saturday, Feb. 15 versus in-state rivals, Central Washington, the Vikings move up to the third place spot in the GNAC. It was also just announced that the Western women’s basketball team rank number seven in the first ranking from the National Collegiate Athletic Association Division II which came out on Wednesday, Feb. 19.
The Vikings are back on the road for the annual Alaskan road trip, traveling to play their first place GNAC team the University of Alaska Anchorage Saturday, Feb. 22.