Wildcat Women's Basketball Falls to Seattle Pacific - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcat Women's Basketball Falls in High-Scoring Affair at Seattle Pacific, 97-79

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By CWU Athletics

SEATTLE, Wash. (Jan. 12) -- The Central Washington University women's basketball team kept pace with host Seattle Pacific University over the first 21 minutes of its contest on Thursday night, but a 52-point second half by the host Falcons resulted in a 97-79 loss for the Wildcats at Brougham Pavilion.

The loss was the second straight for CWU, which fell to 4-9 on the season and 1-5 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play. Seattle Pacific improved to 11-4 overall and 5-2 in the conference.

Senior Sophie Russell (Olympia, Wash./River Ridge HS), coming off a 3 for 19 shooting performance last Saturday at Northwest Nazarene, spearheaded a first-half spurt that saw the Wildcats pull to a 45-45 tie at halftime. Russell scored 14 of her team-high 19 points prior to halftime, as she made 4 of 5 three-point attempts in the opening 20 minutes. As a team, Central Washington posted its best shooting half of the season, making 18 of 30 (60 percent) while SPU connected on 18 of 34 (52.9 percent) prior to halftime.

"Sophie did a great job coming back (from last week's game)," CWU head coach Shawn Nelson said. "She worked hard on improving her shot and footwork this week, and it paid off with her performance tonight.

"I thought that, as a team, we did a great job offensively and in our half-court defense (in the first half)."

The second half was a different story, however, as Central Washington shot just 36.7 percent on 11 of 30 while the Falcons improved upon their torrid shooting pace from the first half. SPU made 22 of 35 shots (62.9 percent) in the final 20 minutes, and finished the game at 58.0 percent. The Wildcats finished at 48.3 percent, their second-best shooting night in 13 games this season -- with their top two outings coming in the season opener at Brougham Pavilion.

"We didn't do a good job getting back on defense," Nelson added. "We were outrebounded by a significant margin, which is uncharacteristic for us so far this season. Seventy-nine points should be enough to win games in this conference."

While it was Russell who led the Wildcats offensively in the first half, the tandem of sophomore Jessica VanDyke (Chester, Mont./Chester-Joplin-Inverness HS) and junior Alex Dunn (West Valley City, Utah/Hunter HS) accounted for a majority of Central Washington's offense in the second half. The duo combined for 19 of the Wildcats' 34 points after the intermission, scoring 10 and nine, respectively, en route to identical 17-point scoring games.

Centers Stacy Albrecht (Federal Way, Wash./Thomas Jefferson HS) and Courtney Johnson (Kent, Wash./Kentwood HS) also scored in double figures for CWU, finishing with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

Seattle Pacific also saw five of its players reach double digits, led by Nyesha Sims with 22. Center Katie Benson recorded a double-double of 16 points and 11 rebounds for the Falcons.

Central Washington will close out a three-game road trip on Saturday night (Jan. 14), visiting Montana State University Billings at 7 p.m. Mountain Standard Time (6 p.m. Pacific). The Wildcats' next home game is Jan. 19 versus Western Washington University.

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