Wildcat women punch their ticket to playoffs
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The 2017 women’s basketball team fought hard all season, and after an intense final two games and a stressful weekend of waiting to see how other games would pan out, they’re in the GNAC playoffs. The Wildcats have clinched the number six seed.
“It was a very stressful Thursday night watching the other games after our game,” head coach Jeff Harada said.
The team gathered at a restaurant to watch the games and see where they would seed in the playoffs, or even if they would. Junior guard Jasmin Edwards recalls her nerves waiting for the game between Alaska Fairbanks and Western Washington to unfold.
“It was nerve-racking,” Edwards said. “It was out of our hands, but we knew we did what we needed to do.”
The five other teams to clinch a spot in the postseason include (in order of seed): Alaska Anchorage, Western Washington, Simon Fraser, Northwest Nazarene and Seattle Pacific.
“We needed two teams to win [against Alaska Fairbanks] and the two teams won,” Harada said. “It was kind of meant to be.”
The Wildcats went 14-14 on the season with a 9-11 conference record, having won seven of their last ten games including an overtime game against Northwest Nazarene 84-76 at home on February 21. The game against NNU was also senior Kortney Grattic’s last game at home for the Wildcats, and this weekend could mark the end of her Wildcat basketball career, but she’s not losing hope yet.
“I think that we have a really good chance of getting these wins and getting to the championship,” Grattic said.
Grattic scored the tying three-pointer that sent the game to overtime where the Wildcats dominated NNU for the win. For Grattic, the beginning of postseason marks the beginning of her final stretch as a Wildcat.
“The league is so tough. It’s great that she can experience the postseason both of her years here.” Harada said.
Following the win over NNU, the Wildcats travelled to MSU-Billings to notch the second necessary win to stay alive in the playoff hunt. Junior guard Sadie Mensing added seven points and three assists in the 59-48 win.
“It was the last must-win for us,” Mensing said. “It was different knowing we won, but our season could still end [there].”
After returning home, the team got a weekend off before turning to practice on Monday.
The Wildcats will now travel to Lacey as they take on the number three seed, Simon Fraser (SFU), at the GNAC tournament Thursday, March 2 at noon. SFU went 24-6 on their season and 15-5 in conference. The Wildcats are 1-1 against SFU this season.
“It’s win or go home,” Harada said. “The team that’s more prepared and wants it more that day is going to win.”
If the Wildcats best the SFU Clan, they will advance to the semi-final game to take on the number two seed, Western Washington, Friday March 3.