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By Aaron Gillis   Western women’s basketball team extended their win streak to three games on Saturday night after defeating Concordia University 84-68 at Sam Carver Gymnasium. The Vikings (10-12, 6-8 GNAC) have found their stride over the past three games, and coach Carmen Dolfo believes it comes from team defense. “We feel like our game is based on our defense. If our defense goes, I think it really gets our offense going,” Dolfo said. Defense was lacking from Western in the first quarter, as the Cavaliers scored 32 points on 80 percent shooting. Western shot 64 percent from the field in the first, but struggled to protect the ball, resulting in six turnovers. The Vikings turned it around in the second quarter, however, outscoring Concordia 24-12. The Vikings also played much better defense, holding the Cavaliers to only 24 percent from the field.

Freshman guard Gracie Castaneda drives past a defender during Western's 84-68 win over Concordia at home Saturday, Feb. 3. // Photo by October Yates
Western took control in the third quarter, outscoring Concordia 25-7. Freshman Kelsey Rogers had 11 points in the quarter, and got the crowd roaring as she sprinted down the court and scored an off-the-glass layup to extend the lead to 22 with under a minute left. Rogers finished with a career-high 21 points and seven rebounds to lead the scoring for both teams, but put the emphasis on team defense and not her own performance. “Defense determines everything. It creates offense, forms better communication and helps with all the fundamentals,” Rogers said. Dolfo was excited to see the progress Rogers has made on her game. “She has really improved in her post game and is using her body more to gain confidence,”  Dolfo said, regarding Rogers’ play. “It was just nice to see her come out and just do the things she’s been improving upon in practice.”
Western's bench erupts in cheers. The Vikings notched their third straight victory with an 84-68 win over Concordia at home Saturday, Feb. 3. // Photo by October Yates
The Vikings shot 25 of 31 from the free throw line, taking advantage of their opportunities. Junior Bobbi Westendorf scored a career-high 11 points, all in the first half alone, and added nine rebounds. Westendorf also emphasized the importance of defense after the game. “We just have to focus on team defense, and help each other out,” she said. Westendorf got cleared to play on Friday, after a back injury had her out for the past few weeks. “It was so fun to have Bobbi back there,” Dolfo said. “She got some big rebounds for us.” Sophomore Lexie Bland had 11 points and five assists, and Sophomore Anna Schwecke added nine points and six rebounds to help the Vikings to victory. Bench play also proved to be a large factor in the win as Western outscored the Cavaliers 47-17. The Vikings next travel to Lacey to take on Saint Martin’s University at 7 p.m., Thursday, Feb. 8.


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