Western Washington University women’s basketball started the season 2-0 after a dominating defensive performance in the Veteran’s Day Classic tournament held at Sam Carver Gymnasium.
The Viking’s defense held Dominguez Hills to 24% from the field, while Western shot an efficient 50%. Four Vikings finished the game in double-digit scoring, led by Mason Oberg’s 16 points in a team-high 35 minutes of play.
Saturday’s game against Cal State Los Angeles turned into an overtime thriller, with the Vikings coming out on top, 76-69.
The team persevered through 14 lead changes in what was a physical match, with the game tied 63-63 at the end of regulation.
“We do a five-minute overtime after every practice,” assistant coach Stacey Turrell said. “After regulation, we said ‘Hey, we do this every day, we know what to do, we’re just going to go out and do it.’”
Senior forward Brooke Walling notched double-doubles in both games, registering 15 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks in game one, followed by a 26-point, 13-rebound, six-block and two-steal performance in the second match.
“I was feeling it,” Walling said. “My teammates did great driving in, crowding the paint and kicking out when I was open.”
Senior guard Stephanie Peterson, who suffered a torn ligament in her thumb, required surgery three weeks before the start of the season. She started both games with a splint and bandages on her hand.
Peterson, a proficient defender, snagged four steals and 10 boards through both games, providing an intense defensive presence on the perimeter.
“We thought it was going to be a much longer recovery, so I’m just grateful to be out here with my teammates and friends,” Peterson said. “I’m starting to get used to it.”
The Viking’s interior defense was equally as impressive as its on-ball perimeter pressure.
Walling’s IQ and defensive positioning led Western’s effort that resulted in 19 steals and 20 blocks through the two games, and held Dominguez Hills to only 47 points.
“She’s so smart and so locked in on offense and defense,” Turrell said. “She’s just a stud. What else can you say.”
The Vikings will face off against Cal State San Marcos and Azusa Pacific on Friday, Nov. 17 and Saturday, Nov. 18, respectively, in Azusa, California.
Nate Landi is a senior at Western Washington University and a campus reporter for The Front. He is a journalism major and is very interested in sports and local news. You can reach him directly at email@example.com.