Wildcats edge SPU 70-68

Hanson Lee, Senior Sports Reporter

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CWU women’s basketball extended their winning streak to five games Thursday night at Nicholson Pavilion, handing SPU their fourth loss of the season.

Sophomore guard Alexis Pana sunk a game-winning perimeter shot with just five seconds left on the clock to break the 68-68 tie.

“I was really nervous to be honest. Everybody was like ‘yeah you got it Lex,’” Pana said. “I just pulled through and it went and dropped.”  

The game was close game all the way through, with 10 lead changes over the course of the game.

“When things didn’t go our way or SPU went on a run, we didn’t put our heads down, we came back and made plays,” said head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley. “It was a battle… SPU’s a really good team.”

The Wildcats shot 58 percent from the field and 50 percent from 3-point range.

“We’re really dynamic right now offensively,” said Richardson-Thornley. “Teams are accountable now, they have to defend all five people who are on the floor.”

As a team, the Wildcats were able to spread the floor offensively and get everybody involved with Sadie Mensing, Kaelie Flores, Alexis Pana, and Rachel Lorentson all recording double-digit points in the game. Lorentson tallied 15 points on a near perfect 6-7 shooting from the field.

“I got the easy job,” Lorentson said. “My teammates gave me good passes and all I had to do was knock it down.”

The Wildcats also forced 24 offensive turnovers on the defensive end and held the tough SPU team to only 43.8 percent shooting from the field.

“That was one of our main focuses,” Lorentson said. “We know they have some girls that can score and they’re really good on offense.”  

Richardson-Thornley credited the team’s defensive performance on the night to graduate assistant Stacey Lukasiewicz, who she says did a great job of scouting SPU and providing the Wildcats with a strong overall game-plan on the night of the game.

In addition to her game-winning shot, Pana racked up a team-leading 19 points, shooting 7-11 from the field.

“Just knowing that everybody believes in me and hearing everybody on the bench really helps me,” Pana said. “I really wanted to kill it.”

The last time the Wildcats faced SPU, they ended up being blown out 62-43 on the road. Richardson-Thornley said that the key to getting the win this time all came down to composure and handling defensive pressure from SPU, something that the Wildcats were able to capitalize on.

“It was a great team effort and win,” Richardson-Thornley said. “We’re a lot better now than we were then.”