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By Sydney Clanton   The Western women’s basketball team came out on top with a 20-point victory against Western Oregon University, Thursday, Feb. 1. The Vikings won at home 66-46 after being on the road for four consecutive games. The Wolves battled the Vikings by ending the first quarter with a tie game, 16-16. The defensive intensity only continued to rise for both teams after halftime, with the Vikings only leading the Wolves by one point, 28-27.          The Vikings (8-12, 4-8 GNAC) were able to shut down Western Oregon’s (8-10, 4-8 GNAC) offense in the second half with outstanding team defense. They held the Wolves to only nine points in the third quarter, opposed to the Vikings’ 19 points.

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Senior Hannah Stipanovich shoots past a defender late in the third quarter. The Vikings blew out Western Oregon 66-46 Thursday, Feb. 1, at home. // Photo by Nic Ulmer
Both the Vikings and the Wolves are 4-8 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, making tonight’s victory crucial to the Vikings’ winning momentum. Western has won two consecutive GNAC games in a row after returning from a victory versus Alaska Fairbanks. Stipanovich led the Vikings with 17 points, eight rebounds and two assists. “We lost to Western Oregon on the road before [54-50] and that was kind of a bummer, so tonight I think everyone came out with some vengeance. Playing on our home court again felt good,” Senior forward Hannah Stipanovich said. Stipanovich is the heart of the team and her energy on the court tonight greatly contributed to the team’s win, coach Carmen Dolfo said. Dolfo is in her 27th season of coaching, leading the Vikings with a career record 569-219.
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Redshirt freshman Gracie Castaneda makes a layup midway through the third quarter. The Vikings blew out Western Oregon 66-46 Thursday, Feb. 1, at home. // Photo by Nic Ulmer
“We struggled in the begging of the game, I felt, like defending the drive. Western Oregon does a good job of attacking the basket. I thought our team did a good job of helping each other and not leaving each other alone.” Dolfo said. The Vikings played tough man-to-man defense for a majority of the game, causing the Wolves to only shoot 31 percent from the field tonight. The Vikings shot 48.3 percent from the field, allowing them to cruise their way to a 20-point victory. Freshman Emma Duff also stood out on the court tonight with a career-high 15 points. She additionally contributed four assists and six rebounds to the Vikings.  
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Senior Hannah Stipanovich gives fans a wave as the Vikings head to the locker room after the game. The Vikings blew out Western Oregon 66-46 Thursday, Feb. 1, at home. // Photo by Nic Ulmer
“We just really worked together tonight. When we played in Western Oregon there wasn’t any real team chemistry,” Duff said. “This time we shared the ball and found the right holes. It was a fun game to play.” The Vikings face off against Concordia Saturday, Feb. 3, in Sam Carver Gymnasium, at 7 p.m. The Vikings are hungry for another home-game win after previously losing to Concordia 70-61 January 4.


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