Wildcat women fall 777-66 to Central Oklahoma - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcat women fall 777-66 to Central Oklahoma

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LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Senior Sophie Russell (Olympia, Wash./River Ridge HS) scored a season-high 19 points in 35 minutes of reserve action, but the Central Washington University women's basketball team was unable to keep pace with the University of Central Oklahoma in a 77-66 loss on Friday afternoon at the Great Western Shootout at the Arena at South Point.

The loss was the third straight for Central Washington, which is now 3-6 on the season. Central Oklahoma, which was among "others receiving votes" in this week's USA Today/ESPN Division II poll, improved to 9-4.

Russell, whose previous season-high was 18 points in the season-opening win over Harding (Ark.), made 7 of 15 field goals while tying for team-high honors with six rebounds. She also dished out four assists.

Central Washington, which had never faced Central Oklahoma in its women's basketball history, stayed close with the Bronchos in the first half with three ties prior to the intermission. The last of those deadlocks came with 20 second to go before halftime on a free throw by Russell, but UCO made a three-pointer with four seconds left to take a 34-31 lead.

The Wildcats remained within striking distance for most of the first 15 minutes of the second half, tying the score three times over the first 7 1/2 minutes of the period including a 47-47 tie. However, Central Oklahoma scored seven straight points as part of a 12-3 run over a four-minute stretch to go ahead by nine, and CWU got no closer than a six-point deficit with 5:18 remaining. UCO spent the final 2:26 with a double-digit lead.

Central Washington finished the game shooting 35.3 percent from the field (24 of 68), including 36.0 percent (9 of 25) from three-point range. The Wildcats were 9 of 12 at the free throw line, where they outscored Central Oklahoma by one point. UCO also made 9 of 25 threes but shot 47.6 percent overall from the floor, marking the sixth consecutive CWU foe to shoot better than 40 percent.

Sophomore Jessica VanDyke (Chester, Mont./Chester-Joplin-Inverness HS), who represented CWU on the all-tournament team, finished with 15 points and six rebounds, including three three-pointers in Friday's defeat. Junior Alex Dunn (West Valley City, Utah/Hunter HS) also scored in double figures, finishing with 10, while adding a game-high five assists and just one turnover.

Britney Morgan led three Broncho players in double figures with 18 points, while Courtney Harper added 15 and Autumn Huffman totaled 13. Morgan and Harper each finished 6 of 12 from the field, helping Central Oklahoma own a 36-16 advantage in points in the paint.

Central Washington will return to action on Dec. 29, hosting nationally-ranked Alaska Anchorage at 7 p.m. Pacific Standard Time in a return to Great Northwest Athletic Conference action.
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