Women take on MSUB

Simo Rul, Staff Reporter

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CWU Women’s Basketball will host Montana State University Billings (MSUB) on Thursday Feb. 8 at Nicholson Pavilion at 7 p.m. They previously met on Jan. 9 in Billings, Montana, where MSUB came away with an 86-84 win.

The Wildcats’ bench had a big impact last time the teams met, scoring 25 points, with 20 coming from sophomore forward Kaelie Flores and freshman forward Kassidy Malcolm.

Flores went 5-for-10 in the game with 11 points, seven rebounds, two assists, and a block in 20 minutes of play.

“I think it took a lot of pressure off of me because I was [struggling] when I was starting and I felt like I was panicky,” Flores said. “When I’m coming off [the bench] and I’m watching the game from the beginning, it really helps me get in the flow of things.”

Malcolm added nine points in eight minutes, going 4-for-5 shooting from the field and connecting on 1-of-2 from 3-point range.

“You have to be ready to go into the game and give everything you got for your teammates who start. [Starters] come out, they need a break, so you need to keep up the pace in the game and do your part,” Malcolm said. “I think it’s really important to have people off the bench who can make that impact.”

When it comes to free throws, the Wildcats have had both good and bad nights. They get to the free-throw line about 19 times per game but only connect on 67 percent on the season.

Against MSUB, the Wildcats got to the line 21 times, making 14 of the shots. Although the Wildcats have struggled, they have been able to make free throws when needed in close games.

“That’s been one of our hurdles all year. It’s really just up to kids to relax and knock down free throws,” head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley said. “We knock ‘em down every day in practice [and] our kids have been able to do it at the end of games when it’s mattered.”

Another big part of the Wildcats’ season is their offensive rebounding. They had nine offensive rebounds in the last matchup against MSUB and average about 13 rebounds per game.

“I think consistently putting the pressure on the defense throughout the whole game to crash the boards and hold them accountable to having to box us out [will help a lot],” Richardson-Thornley said. “The biggest thing is once you get those offensive rebounds, we have to reward ourselves off of that and get opportunities off of that and make something of it. So, we’ve gotten better at that.”

MSUB has the leading scorer and one of the best players in the GNAC, Alisha Breen. Breen averages 19.7 points per game. MSUB currently sits at 15-8 overall and are 8-5 in the GNAC.

“They have the best player in the league… Alisha Breen She’s a tough task,” Richardson-Thornley said. “Our biggest challenge is limiting her and slowing her down and not letting any of their role players go off for anything.”

The Wildcats are 13-8 on the year, and 9-4 in the GNAC. They are 14-9 and 10-5 in GNAC play  after falling to Northwest Nazarene University  74-71 Feb. 6 at home.


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Women take on MSUB