CWU Women's basketball drops another last-second heartbreaker - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

CWU Women's basketball drops another last-second heartbreaker

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ELLENSBURG, Wash. -- Senior Sophie Russell (Olympia, Wash./River Ridge HS) scored a game-high 26 points, including a game-tying three-pointer with 56.2 seconds remaining, but a last-second jumper by Saint Martin's University forward Chelsea Haskey handed Central Washington University a 68-66 women's basketball loss on Thursday night at Nicholson Pavilion.

The Wildcats fell to 8-17 on the season and 4-13 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference play. The defeat was also the team's sixth by four points or less this season. Saint Martin's completed a sweep of the season series, improving to 9-18 overall and 4-13 in the GNAC.

Russell's three-pointer in the closing minute was the first of two ties in the final 60 seconds. Saint Martin's regained the lead on a basket by Haskey with 34.4 seconds left, but sophomore Jessica VanDyke (Chester, Mont./Chester-Joplin-Inverness HS) scored a lay-up with 21.1 seconds on the clock to force the game's seventh tie, this time at 66-66.

After a 30-second timeout by Saint Martin's, Haskey, the Saints' leading scorer on the season, worked a one-on-one move in the paint and hit a turnaround jumper to give Saint Martin's the lead with 2.1 seconds left. A desperation half-court shot by CWU junior Alex Dunn (West Valley City, Utah/Hunter HS) fell short.

Central Washington started the game off well, especially on the defensive end, taking an 8-0 lead and holding Saint Martin's to 0 for its first 10 from the field. The lead reached 11-2 before the Saints chipped away, eventually going ahead 16-14. The Wildcats then responded, and were ahead by three on a VanDyke three-pointer with 2:19 remaining before halftime, but CWU failed to score the rest of the period and trailed 25-24 at the break.

The lead see-sawed back and forth in the second half, with the largest lead of the period being six by Saint Martin's with 6:55 left. Central Washington scored eight of the next 10 points over a span of 2:45 to tie the game at 59-59, and the margin remained at three or less the rest of the way.

Russell came within two points of her career-high of 28, set earlier this season at Montana State University Billings on Jan. 14. She made 9 of 20 shot attempts on Thursday, including 6 of 13 from three-point range as the Wildcats drilled 11 treys (in 27 attempts). VanDyke connected on three long-range shots to break the school's single-season record for three-pointers made and finished with 11 points and six rebounds. Dunn, meanwhile, chased a triple-double before totaling 14 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds. It marked her second 10-assist game of the season.

Saint Martin's was led by the career-high 25 points from Brooke Paulson, who made 5 of 6 three-pointers and 9 of 12 overall from the floor. Paulson, who came into the game shooting 22.5 percent from three-point range this season (9 of 40), also tied for team-leading honors with five assists. Haskey added 18 with 10 rebounds -- all defensive -- as the Saints had a 35-33 rebounding edge.

Central Washington closes out the 2011-12 season on Saturday, hosting Western Oregon University (7-20, 6-11 GNAC) on Senior Night. The Wildcats will honor Russell, their lone senior, prior to the contest.
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