Central Washington women lose in overtime to Northwest Nazarene - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Central Washington women lose in overtime to Northwest Nazarene

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NAMPA, Idaho -- Central Washington University newcomers Alex Dunn (West Valley City, Utah/Hunter HS) and Jessica VanDyke (Chester, Mont./Chester-Joplin-Inverness HS) combined to make 11 of 18 three-pointers and score 55 points, but the Wildcat women's basketball team squandered an 11-point second-half lead in falling to Northwest Nazarene, 91-88, in overtime on Saturday night at the Johnson Sports Center.

The loss dropped the Wildcats' record to 4-8 overall and 1-4 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play, while NNU improved to 9-4 overall and 3-2 in the GNAC.

Dunn and VanDyke, who both transferred to CWU from Carroll College when first-year coach Shawn Nelson joined the team earlier this year, spearheaded the Wildcats' three-point entourage on Saturday. VanDyke made 6 of 11 treys en route to a career-high 27 points, while Dunn made 5 of 7 from long range (and 10 of 17 overall) as part of her 28-point scoring performance.

Central Washington took a one-point lead into halftime after Dunn nailed a go-ahead three-pointer at the buzzer. After falling behind by five early in the second half, the Wildcats went on a 13-4 run to take a four-point advantage, only to watch Northwest Nazarene tie the score at 53-53. Again, however, CWU forged ahead with a 17-6 spurt that made it an 11-point differential with 7:38 remaining, but the Wildcats managed just five points the rest of regulation while the Crusaders crept back into the game. NNU tied the score with free throws with 50 seconds left, only to see VanDyke make a pair at the line 17 seconds later to put Central back in front by two. On the next possession, Megan Hingston made a game-tying basket to force overtime.

In the overtime period, Northwest Nazarene raced out to an eight-point lead in the first three minutes, scoring 11 of the first 14 points of the period. Central chipped away with a pair of free throws by freshman Courtney Johnson (Kent, Wash./Kentwood HS) and a pair of three-pointers by VanDyke, but despite the Wildcats' late-game efforts, which included three straight made field goals in the final 35 seconds, NNU was able to convert on five free throws in the final minute to steal the three-point overtime win.

CWU finished the game above 40 percent for the second straight contest, making 40.3 percent overall including 43.6 percent from three-point range. Their 17 threes were one more than the previous school record of 16, which had been accomplished twice, most recently in 2000.

Each team had just six scorers, as Dunn and VanDyke were joined by Johnson's 14 points, nine from senior Sophie Russell (Olympia, Wash./River Ridge HS), eight from sophomore Amber Moser (Willamina, Ore./Sheridan HS), and two from freshman Melanie Valdez (Richland, Wash./Chiawana HS). Russell made just 3 of 19 field-goal attempts, including just 2 of 12 from three-point range.

Northwest Nazarene had three players break the 20-point plateau, led by 27 from Hingston. Alla Dzhidzhiyeshvili added 23 with eight rebounds and six steals, and Briaunna King had 21 points and 11 rebounds as the Crusaders outscored CWU 40-12 in the paint. Heather Adams (11 points, six assists), Chelsie Luke (7 points), and Leslie Warwick (2 points) also scored for NNU.

Central Washington will have a pair of road games ahead next week, visiting Seattle Pacific on Thursday (Jan. 12) and Montana State Billings on Saturday (Jan. 14). The Wildcats' next home game is Jan. 19 versus rival Western Washington.
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