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Women's basketball one win away from GNAC title

Sydney Donaldson gets fouled while going in for a shot in Western's game against Simon Fraser University on Saturday, Feb. 28. Western won 72-65. // Photo by Jake Tull

The Western women’s basketball team made it to the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with high hopes, but ended up falling short of a conference title when they lost in the championship game.

The team finished their campaign with an overall record of 21-9 and Jenni White was named first team in the GNAC

The highlight for senior Sydney Donaldson was the team’s first two games in the tournament.

“We played Central Washington University and Seattle Pacific University and we won both those games in a last-second shot,” Donaldson said. “It’s rare to have one of those in a season but to have them both in the same week was pretty fun.”

The first game of the tournament was against Central Washington University, which Western won 51-40.

The game was a back and forth affair where the lead exchanged hands a number of times. 

The first tournament win gave Western its 18th 20-win season. 

The second game was also a Vikings win, this time against Seattle Pacific University with 72-67. Senior Katie Colard scored 34 points, which was a career high. 

The game was favoring SPU through the second half, but Colard scored 11 of the 14 points needed to get ahead. In the last 90 seconds Western scored the final six points to send the game into overtime.

“Going out and beating them in overtime was really exciting for us,” Colard said. 

Western lost the first two games against SPU during the season, so winning a tournament game was one of Colard’s and Donaldson’s favorite moments of the season. 

The last game of the season didn’t end with the bang everyone hoped for. They played against nationally-ranked University of Alaska Anchorage. Western had a strong start up until 6:30 left on the first half. Then by halftime, Anchorage had taken a huge lead. The second half was dominated by Anchorage. 

“The season obviously didn’t go as we planned. I think we had pretty high expectations, so not making the regional tournament was pretty upsetting but we won some big games that were fun.” Colard said. 

The seniors of this season, Colard, Donaldson and Jenni White, were all at the top of their team’s season statistics. 

Colard was second on the team with 2.9 assists per game. Donaldson was second in rebounds with 4.9 per game. Taylor Peacocke lead the way in scoring with 13.5 points per game 

Each is taking away a different experience from their time at Western. 

“It’s important to know each of our personalities are all different and how to motivate each other in different ways. We have that cohesion together,” Colard said. 

With the season over Donaldson is rather positive about her experience at Western. 

“What’s important is hard work and the relationships you create with basketball. Really valuing relationships is something that’s been distilled in me,” Donaldson said.

This was Colard, Donaldson, White and Marcel Pounds’ last season at Western.

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