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By Sydney Clanton   The Western women’s basketball team defeated rival Central Washington University 67-59 Thursday, Feb. 15, at Sam Carver Gymnasium.   The Vikings (12-13, 8-9 GNAC) were out for revenge against the Wildcats (14-11, 10-7 GNAC) after previously losing to them 77-73 on Jan. 20, in Ellensburg. “We owed them a good beating,” senior forward Hannah Stipanovich said. “It feels amazing to get this win, especially against Central. We have been improving all season, so I think the second time around playing these teams we feel like we have made so much progress as a team overall.” Stipanovich led the Vikings to a Great Northwest Athletic Conference victory with 19 points, two assists and five rebounds. But her performance wasn’t the only reason Western came out with a crucial win.

Freshman guard Gracie Castaneda had eight points, four rebounds and four assists in Western's 67-59 victory over Central on Thursday, Feb. 15, at home. // Photo by October Yates
With just three games left in GNAC regular season play, the Vikings sit in the sixth and final playoff spot for the GNAC Championships in Anchorage, Alaska March 1-3. After the win over fifth place Central, Western has a firm grasp on a playoff berth over seventh place Concordia ((13-13, 7-9 GNAC). It was a team effort for the Vikings as nine different players were able to score. “We worked together tonight,” sophomore center Anna Schwecke said. “That’s been something that we have been trying to improve on all season and it’s starting to come together now. I think that’s the beauty of our team, there’s not just one person that is going to score all the points.” The Vikings had a whopping 21 assists versus the Wildcats, who only had eight assists against Western. “It just shows that we did a really good job of working together and that’s what really secured the win.” Schwecke said.
Sophomore guard Dani Iwami dished out a game-high nine assists in Western's 67-59 win over Central on Thursday, Feb. 15, at home. // Photo by October Yates
Western played tough man-to-man defense against Central, allowing them to lead the Wildcats for 38 minutes and 18 seconds of the game. Central only led for 23 seconds and the game was tied for only a minute and 19 seconds. In addition to their tough team defense, the Vikings shot 46.7 percent from the field and scored 47 of their 67 points in the paint. Central was only able to score 26 points in the paint against the Vikings. Western’s next game is against Northwest Nazarene (18-3, 14-2 GNAC) on Saturday, Feb. 17, in Sam Carver Gymnasium. “We definitely feel confident going into NNU knowing that we can beat them,” Stipanovich said. “We have to keep that confidence because coming off of a win that helps a lot.”


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