Wildcats stunned in 69-63 home loss to BYU-Hawaii - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcats stunned in 69-63 home loss to BYU-Hawaii

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Sophomore Jessica VanDyke (Chester, Mont./Chester-Joplin-Inverness HS) posted her second double-double in as many nights, but the Central Washington University women's basketball team was held scoreless over the final 5:18 in falling to visiting Brigham Young University-Hawaii, 69-63, on Saturday night at Nicholson Pavilion.

The Wildcats fell to 3-4 on the season with their first home loss in three starts. BYU-Hawaii, meanwhile, earned its first win of the campaign in seven games played (1-6).

VanDyke, who had 13 points and 11 rebounds in Friday's 85-70 win over the Seasiders, finished with team-leading totals of 18 points and 11 rebounds in Saturday's loss. She accounted for half of Central Washington's eight made three-pointers and logged 33 minutes.

"Jessica is doing an excellent job for us," CWU head coach Shawn Nelson explained. "She's giving us everything she has despite playing with a couple of injuries."

VanDyke was one of three Wildcats to score seven points each in the first half, when CWU raced out to leads of 5-0 and 12-2. Central Washington held a 33-29 edge at halftime and did not trail until the Seasiders scored seven of the first nine tallies after the break to go ahead 36-35. The Wildcats regained the lead twice -- at 44-42 with 15:30 remaining, and again at 63-61 with 5:18 to go -- but they were outscored 8-0 down the stretch as they missed their final 10 field-goal attempts including two lay-ups and three three-pointers.

Central Washington took nearly 30 more shots than BYU-Hawaii, converting on just 26 of 82 from the field (31.7 percent) while the Seasiders shot 43.6 percent on 24 of 55. The Wildcats had 21 offensive rebounds but managed just six second-chance points.

"We had another one of those nights where we didn't capitalize on our opportunities," Nelson lamented. "We had 21 offensive boards and didn't take advantage of it. We did do a better job taking care of the basketball tonight (compared to last night), which led to shot opportunities. But there is a correlation to our shooting percentage and wins and losses … we're going to struggle when we shoot under 40 percent."

In the turnover department, CWU had just 14 miscues -- seven fewer than a season-high 21 turnovers committed in Friday's win -- while forcing BYU-Hawaii into 26 turnovers. The Wildcats had a 24-8 advantage in points off turnovers for the game.

Another area in which the Wildcats struggled was a the free throw line, where CWU made just 3 of 11 shots -- the lowest single-game free throw percentage in school history (dating back to 1980-81) with a minimum of 10 attempts.

In addition to VanDyke's 18 points, fellow starters Courtney Johnson (Kent, Wash./Kentwood HS) and Alex Dunn (West Valley City, Utah/Hunter HS) also scored in double figures with 13 and 11, respectively. Senior Sophie Russell (Olympia, Wash./River Ridge HS) finished with eight points and 10 rebounds off the bench.

BYU-Hawaii, which finished with a 49-44 rebounding advantage and made 17 of its 21 free-throw attempts (81.0 percent), was led by the double-double performances of Taylor Mann (17 points, 15 rebounds) and Shayla Washington (18 points, 10 rebounds). Danna Lynn Hooper and Brianna Jessop also scored in double digits for the Seasiders with 11 and 10, respectively, while Danyele Hoffman tallied nine assists.

Central Washington now hits a challenging part of its schedule, facing Drury (Mo.) and Central Oklahoma at the Great Western Shootout in Las Vegas next Thursday (Dec. 15) and Friday (Dec. 16). Drury was ranked 21st in the USA Today/WBCA Division II poll this past week, while UCO was among "others receiving votes" last week. The Wildcats' next home opponent, Alaska Anchorage on Dec. 29, is ranked 10th nationally.

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