CWU women top Vikings 77-73

Taylor+Baird%2C+senior+forward%2C+performs+a+practice+drill.
Taylor Baird, senior forward, performs a practice drill.

Taylor Baird, senior forward, performs a practice drill.

Xander Fu

Xander Fu

Taylor Baird, senior forward, performs a practice drill.

Clayton Huber, Staff Reporter

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Xander Fu
Taylor Baird, senior forward, performs a practice drill.

CWU women’s basketball hosted the Western Washington University (WWU) Vikings last night in a 7 p.m. conference matchup. CWU came away with a 77-73 victory.

CWU is currently 6-4 in conference play while WWU is 3-7 after tonight’s game.  Both teams will be fighting for a spot in the conference playoffs come March.

“We’ve had a lot of close games with Western and a lot of tough rivalry games against them,” senior guard Jasmin Edwards said.

From tip-off, it was off to the races, with both teams scoring most of their points on fast break. Edwards started the game 3-3 scoring six of the Wildcats first eight points. After the first quarter, the game was tied at 16-16.

The teams traded back three-pointer at the start of second quarter.

“Western made big plays and had kids step up,” head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley said. “We wanted to limit their guards and we did that but their post players stepped up.”

CWU struggled shooting free throws in the first half, shooting just 4-11 from the free throw line. At the end of the second half, CWU led the Vikings 39-37 with Edwards leading the scoring with 12 points.

“We’re able to put the ball in the basket when we shoot almost 50 percent from the field and 40 percent from the three point line,” Richardson-Thornley said. “Free throws [are] just a mental thing we need to work on.”

CWU came out in the third quarter forcing WWU to call a timeout just one minute into the quarter. Edwards sunk another two points for the Wildcats in the third, bringing her scoring to 14 points as the Wildcats remained ahead 55-52.

Over the course of the game, the lead changed 11 times with no lead extending more than five points. Junior Sadie Mensing and Edwards played the majority of the game, recording 28 minutes each at the start of the fourth quarter.

When the final 10 minutes began, both teams continued to battle for the lead.

With the teams tied at 73 with 50 seconds left in the game, senior guard Beverly Verduin hit a three-pointer to give the Wildcats the edge at 76-73, which is where the Vikings would stay as a free throw from Sadie Mensing brought the score to 77-73 as the buzzer sounded.

“It really feels great, beating a team with such a big rivalry and having such a tough game. It feels really good to come out on top,” junior guard Sadie Mensing said.

The win also marked the Wildcats’ first win at home against the Vikings in over 13 years.

“These close games are tough, we’re going to have more of these in the season so we just need to keep winning these close games and keep executing,” Edwards said.

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CWU women top Vikings 77-73