Second-Half Rally Comes Up Short for Wildcats women - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Early second-half rally comes up short for Wildcats in women's basketball loss

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By CWU Athletics
 
ELLENSBURG, Wash. (Jan. 19) -- Four Central Washington University women's basketball players scored in double figures, but the Wildcats were unable to sustain an early second-half rally in falling to visiting Western Washington University, 85-71, on Thursday night at Nicholson Pavilion.

The Wildcats fell to 5-10 overall and 2-6 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play, while Western Washington improved to 12-4 overall and 6-2 in the GNAC.

Leading Central Washington offensively on Thursday were junior Alex Dunn (West Valley City, Utah/Hunter HS) and senior Sophie Russell (Olympia, Wash./River Ridge HS) with 16 points apiece. Sophomore Jessica VanDyke (Chester, Mont./Chester-Joplin-Inverness HS) had a double-double with 14 points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while junior Stacy Albrecht (Federal Way, Wash./Thomas Jefferson HS) had all 10 of her points in the second half.

The Wildcats scored the game's first point, and led by as many as four midway through the first half before the Vikings went on a 19-5 run over an eight-minute span to give the visitors their first double-digit lead of the night. That margin remained at 10 or more for all but nine seconds of the final 4:32 in the first half, and WWU took a 14-point lead into halftime thanks to a buzzer-beating lay-up by Corinn Waltrip.

In the second half, however, Central Washington came out strong on both ends of the floor, scoring 14 of the first 16 points of the period in a span of 3:26 to make it a two-point game. The Wildcats made four of six field goals -- including a pair of three-pointers -- during that run, and they also converted on four of four free throw attempts over that stretch, while Western Washington missed four of its five field-goal attempts to start the half. Two points is as close as CWU would get, however, as WWU scored the game's next five points as part of a 20-6 run over a five and a half minute stretch to extend the lead back to 16. Central's closest deficit the rest of the way was nine on two occasions, but a 10-0 Viking run after the last of those two occurrences made it an insurmountable 19-point cushion with five minutes remaining.

After a rocky shooting first half, in which the Wildcats made just 31 percent of their shot attempts, CWU shot 42.9 percent in the final 20 minutes. However, that pace was unable to keep up with a Western Washington squad that shot better than 50 percent in each half and finished the game at 54.1 percent from the floor. In three-point shooting, where Central Washington has led the GNAC for most of the season (in three-pointers made), the hosts were a season-low 20.8 percent (5 of 24) while Western made a sizzling 52.9 percent (9 of 17).

The Wildcats outscored the Vikings 24-10 at the free throw line, but had nearly three times as many free throw attempts (36-13). The turnover and rebounding margins were almost identical, but CWU was doubled in points in the paint, 36-18, despite corralling 17 offensive rebounds.

Dunn added six rebounds and four assists to her 16-point total, but she was just 5 of 13 from the floor. VanDyke made just 4 of 12 overall including 1 of 7 from three-point range. Albrecht, meanwhile, made all three of her shot attempts in the second half in reaching double figures for the third consecutive game.

Western Washington had three players score in double figures, led by the game-high 22 points of Waltrip, who made 5 of 8 three-pointers. Trishi Williams finished with 20 points, eight rebounds, and five assists, scoring 15 of her points in the second half.

Central Washington remains home this Saturday night (Jan. 21), facing Simon Fraser University in a scheduled 7 p.m. tip-off at Nicholson Pavilion.
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