LACEY — The women of central Washington continued their post-season killing spree on Saturday with the program’s first GNAC Tournament Championship.
And the continued internal dominance of Samantha Bowman went ahead.
After the Zillah junior hit 23 rebounds with 12 points, the third-seeded Wildcats pushed into defense, knocking off top-ranked and national-ranked Western Washington 57-46 at Saint Martin’s Marcus Pavilion. That tied the fewest points Central conceded all season and marked a season low for Western at 11 points.
“I think after playing a team three times you really learn what they like to do and the tendencies of each player,” said coach Randi Richardson-Thornley. “Just very proud of the girls’ defensive effort and execution.”
The regular-season champions scored just 17 points in the middle two quarters and shot just 25% from the field, including 2-on-25s from 3-point range. They’ve lost two out of three games against the Wildcats this year, starting with a stunning 76-68 excitement at Bellingham.
GNAC Player of the Year Kassidy Malcolm scored 14 points for Central and Bowman added 12. Sophomore guard Jenna Troy provided a major offensive boost with a career-high 13 points in 5-of-8 shooting.
“I think Jenna did well to take her chances,” Richardson-Thornley said. “She was aggressive”
The Wildcats (23-7), who leaned on offense early in the tournament in victories over Simon Fraser (91-85) and Alaska Anchorage (80-65), plan to host an event at the Nicholson Pavilion to mark the selection show on Sept Sunday to see the NCAA Div. II West Region Tournament, taking place from March 11th to 14th. Central started the week fourth, two places behind WWU.
HEADQUARTERS WASHINGTON — Kassidy Malcolm 14, Samantha Bowman 12, Maltezo 9, Huerta 6, Maeda 2, Jenna Troy 13, Heitschmidt 1. Overall 19-47 15-20 57.
WESTERN WASHINGTON — Brooke Walling 18, Emma Duff 14, Gracie Castaneda 10, A Dykstra 0, R Dykstra 0, Reilly 2, Zaragoza 2, Fierke 0, Gimmaka 0, Grandbois 0. Overall 16-64 12-16 46.
CWU 13 15 15 14 – 57
EMU 14 9 8 15 — 46
CWU Highlights: Bowman 23 rebels; Malcolm 2-3 3p, 5 reps; Kizzah Maltezo 7 reps.
Central loses title game
Central Washington failed to stem Alaska Fairbanks’ momentum on an unlikely run to the GNAC title.
The Nanooks beat the Wildcats 72-57 for their fourth win in four days and clinched a title that would not have even been possible had it not been for the midseason decision to allow all league teams to enter the tournament. Central shot just 39% from the field and was outrebound 45-28.
Matt Poquette scored 25 points to lead the Wildcats, who should still be in good position to take a big win in the NCAA Div next week. II Western Region Tournament. The field is scheduled to be unveiled at 7:30 p.m. Sunday evening
ALASKA FAIR BANKS — Shadeed Shabazz 19, Abdullahi Mohammed 15, Koby Huerta 10, Jones 9, Sparling 8, Thomas 8, Striker 3. Overall 25-58 17-21 72.
WASHINGTON HEADQUARTERS — Matt Poquette 25, Smith 9, Stafford 9, Gilson 8, Thompson 1, Pollard 3, Gennett 2, Banks 0. Overall 22-57 6-11 57.
halftime: 28-27 CWU.
CWU Highlights: poquette 7 vines; Gilson 6 reps.
Centrally swept from Nazarene
ELLENSBURG — Adam Fahsel was 4-on-7 with two doubles, three runs scored and three RBI for Central Washington, who dropped a GNAC doubleheader at home. The Wildcats (1-3, 7-12) play Western Oregon next Saturday.
Game 1: Northwest Nazarene 13, Central Washington 10. CWU Highlights: Adam Fahsel 2-3, 2b, 3 runs, 2 RBI; Austin Ohland 2-2, 2b, run, 2 RBI; Michael Pete 2-5, run.
Game 2: Northwest Nazarene 11, Central Washington 4. CWU Highlights: Zach Berryman 2-3, Adam Fahsel 2-4, 2b, RBI; Gabe Bustamante 2-4, run; Drew Richardson 2-4, run.
YVC shares a pair
Yakima Valley clinched a 5-1 win over Pierce before giving up two heats in the ninth run to lose 5-6 at home to defending NWAC North champions Everett on Saturday.
Hank Dunn hit two doubles and drove in three heats for the Yaks, who will play the same two teams again on Sunday in Everett.
Game 1: Yakima Valley 5, Pierce 1. YVC Highlights: Hank Dunn 2-5, 2b, RBI; Spencer Marenco 2-4; Dane Fraser 2-3, 2b, run, 2 RBI; Paul Antony 1-1, 3b, RBI; Jace Hanson 6 IP, ER, 9 K
Game 2: Everett 6, Yakima Valley 4. YVC Highlights: Dunn 1-4, 2 runs, 2 RBI; Andrew Graham 3-5, run; Marenco 2-5, RBI; Brock Molenda 2-4; Kelen Rutz 1-4, 2b.
Wildcats drop two
ELLENSBURG — Central lost two games at home to Northwest Nazarene on Saturday afternoon.
Alyssa Benthagen went 3-3 for the Wildcats in a 6-3 loss and Myiah Seaton did the same in a 6-2 loss. Central will play two doubleheaders at Montana State Billings starting next Friday.
Game 1: Northwest Nazarene 6, Central Washington 3. CWU Highlights: Allie Thiessen 1-4, 2b; Alyssa Benthagen 2-4; Brooke Jordan 3-3.
Game 2: Northwest Nazarene 6, Central Washington 2. CWU Highlights: Myiah Seaton 3-3, run.
Late rally denies Central
No. 1 Saint Mary’s ended Central Washington’s angry bid with a game-winning try in the final seconds of injury time to hand the Wildcats a 30-27 loss at Tomlinson Stadium.
Marques Fuala’au and Drew Farrington scored attempts in the first 12 minutes of the game to give Central a 12-0 lead and they led 27-8 after another Jones strike early in the second half. The Gaels scored three times in the last 10 minutes to end their rally.