Wildcats suffer heartbreaking home loss to Simon Fraser, 67-64 - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Wildcats suffer heartbreaking home loss to Simon Fraser, 67-64

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- The Central Washington University women's basketball team led for nearly 34 1/2 minutes in Saturday's contest against visiting Simon Fraser University, but an 18-6 SFU run over the final 7:06 resulted in a heartbreaking 67-64 home loss for the Wildcats at Nicholson Pavilion.

The loss dropped the Wildcats' record to 5-11 overall and 2-7 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play. Simon Fraser improved to 11-6 and 6-3 in conference action.

Central Washington scored the opening basket of the game and did not trail in the first half. That lead carried over to the second half before the Clan took its first lead with 17:27 to go, and the visitors were in front for just over two minutes before the Wildcats regained the lead at the 14:55 mark. After three ties over the next 2 1/2 minutes, CWU went ahead 50-48 and led by as many as nine and seemed to respond every time Simon Fraser threatened their advantage the rest of the way. However, after taking that nine-point lead -- their largest of the night -- with 7:06 remaining, the Wildcats were outscored 18-6.

Central carried the lead into the final minute before a put back lay-up by Erin Chambers with 26.5 seconds left tied the game, and the ensuing free throw on the play gave Simon Fraser the lead at 65-64. Following a timeout, the Wildcats had an opportunity to go ahead, but a turnover underneath the basket returned possession to SFU. On the ensuing possession, CWU sophomore Amber Moser (Willamina, Ore./Sheridan HS) blocked Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe's fastbreak lay-up attempt but Marie-Line Petit was there for the rebound basket with 5.4 seconds left to make it a three-point game. Sophomore Jessica VanDyke's (Chester, Mont./Chester-Joplin-Inverness HS) contested three-pointer at the final buzzer rimmed off and Simon Fraser escaped with the victory.

The Wildcats, whose last women's basketball victory over SFU came in Feb. 1988, held a 45-40 rebounding advantage over one of the league's tallest teams despite not having a player reach double figures in boards. Juniors Stacy Albrecht (Federal Way, Wash./Thomas Jefferson HS) and Alex Dunn (West Valley City, Utah/Hunter HS) had nine boards apiece, while VanDyke added seven.

The two teams posted nearly identical shooting percentages, with Simon Fraser edging the Wildcats by just 0.3 percent. However, Central Washington shot just 40 percent at the free throw line (6 of 15), where it was outscored by three points (SFU was 9 of 13).

Individually, VanDyke and senior Sophie Russell (Olympia, Wash./River Ridge HS) tied for team-high scoring honors with 19 each, while Dunn scored 12 and added seven assists to her conference-leading total. VanDyke made 8 of 13 shot attempts but had just three field-goal tries in 17 second-half minutes.

Simon Fraser was led by the 23-point, 16-rebound performance of Raincock-Ekunwe, while Kristina Collins (13 points) and Chelsea Reist (10 points) also scored in double digits for the Clan.

Central Washington will return to the road next week, traveling north to Alaska for games in Fairbanks (Thursday, Jan. 26) and in Anchorage (Saturday, Jan. 28). Both games are scheduled for 7 p.m. Alaska Standard Time (8 p.m. Pacific Standard Time) starts.

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