Wildcat Women Lead from Start-to-Finish in 66-50 Win - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcat Women Lead from Start-to-Finish in 66-50 Win over Evergreen

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Sophomore Jessica VanDyke (Chester, Mont./Chester-Joplin-Inverness HS) scored 12 of her team-high 15 points in the first half, and the Central Washington University women's basketball team led from start to finish in a 66-50 victory over visiting Evergreen State College on Monday night at Nicholson Pavilion.

The win came in the Wildcats' home opener, and improved Central's record to 2-1 on the young season. Evergreen counted the game as an exhibition, so the result and statistics will not count for the Geoducks.

VanDyke, a transfer from Carroll College, nearly finished with a double-double as she had a game-high nine rebounds to go with her point total. Her efficiency from three-point range, which included 3 of 5 treys in the first half, helped the Wildcats build an early lead. CWU had a 23-point lead late in the first stanza and went into the intermission with a 37-16 advantage.

Also aiding the Wildcats' first-half success was a defense that forced Evergreen into 15 turnovers, held the Geoducks to 27.3 percent shooting, and posted a 24-17 advantage in rebounding. Sophomore Kelsi Jacobson (Spokane, Wash./University HS) had all five of her rebounds for the game in the first half.

"I thought we got off to a great start," first-year CWU head coach Shawn Nelson said. "We shot the ball extremely well from three early on, and our defense was solid -- we got a lot of steals and were able to get into a transition offense."

Central's offense cooled in the second half, though, as they made just 9 of 34 shots (26.5 percent) after the break and were outscored 34-29 by Evergreen in the final 20 minutes. They did take their largest lead of the game at 60-33 with 7:08 remaining, but the Geoducks closed the game on a 17-6 run that accounted for the game's final 16-point differential.

"Once we got a substantial lead, we started playing with different lineups," Nelson explained, "trying to figure out combinations and what we could run with. I think that may have slowed our team down and may have taken us out of rhythm, but (the experimentation) was something we had to do since we don't have another game until our conference opener (on Dec. 1).

"In a game like this (playing different lineups), it's easy to get out of rhythm," Nelson continued. "It was key tonight, as we seemed out of sorts later in the game. And we played to the scoreboard (with the big lead), rather than keeping our foot on the gas."

The Wildcats took advantage of transition scoring, second-chance points, and a deeper bench in defeating the Geoducks. CWU had a 12-0 edge in fast break points, converted 23 offensive rebounds into 18 second-chance tallies (including 14 such points in the second half), and utilized all 13 players in uniform to hold a commanding 22-4 edge in bench scoring. Evergreen had just three substitute players at its disposal, with that trio logging a combined 36 minutes.

VanDyke and junior Stacy Albrecht (Federal Way, Wash./Thomas Jefferson HS) were the only CWU players to reach double figures in scoring, with 15 and 11, respectively, although 10 of the 13 Wildcats who played scored. Senior Sophie Russell (Olympia, Wash./River Ridge HS) was next in the scoring column with nine points, adding four assists with only one turnover in 28 minutes of action, while junior point guard Alex Dunn (West Valley City, Utah/Hunter HS) had seven points, seven assists, and four rebounds. Jacobson and sophomore Marissa Pratt (Anacortes, Wash./Redmond HS) sparked the Wildcat reserves with six points apiece.

Evergreen was led by a game-high 17 points from Danielle Swain, who scored 15 of her tallies in the second half before fouling out with 7:40 to go. Swain made 7 of 8 field-goal attempts and added eight rebounds

Central Washington will not play another game until its Dec. 1 opener in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play at Western Oregon. The Wildcats' next home game will be Dec. 9 in the opening game of a two-game series versus Brigham Young University-Hawai'i at Nicholson Pavilion.
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