Jan. 12, 2016
Wildcats End Drought with 67-56 Win Over Western
Jasmin Edwards's 20 points led the Central Washington University women's basketball team to a 67-56 victory over Western Washington. The Wildcats' victory is the first over the Vikings since 2008.
"Excellent team win tonight," CWU Head Coach Jeff Harada said afterward. "I'm so happy and proud of our players tonight. Our seniors were determined to get a win tonight and they played like it."
Central improves to 10-4 on the season with a 3-3 mark in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, while the Wildcats handed the Vikings their first loss in GNAC play. The Wildcats are 5-1 in enemy territory this season.
Western is now 9-5 overall and 5-1 in conference.
The Wildcats and Vikings shot 24-53 and 23-54, respectively. The Wildcats' difference maker was their ability to convert from beyond the arc. Central finished 50 percent from three-point land with Edwards, Mandy Steward, and Rachel Lorentson each knocking down a pair of treys.
"Everyone did their part and that was the message before the game," Harada added.
After three quarters of light scoring, neither team recorded 20 points in any period, the fourth quarter was an offensive explosion. The Wildcats put up 27 points, 40.2 percent of their 67 total. The Vikings tallied 22, 39.2 percent of their 56.
Central left the first quarter trailing 13-12, but did not allow Western to outscore them in any of the following three quarters.
The Wildcats' did not relinquish the lead after heading into the locker room at halftime, keeping the Vikings at arm's length for the remainder of the contest.
"Melanie Valdez had one of the best defensive games of the year and India Matheson and Alexis Berrysmith battled in the paint all night with a toughness that it takes to win a rivalry game like this," Harada noted.
Tacking on to an already strong defensive effort for Central, Jasmine Parker swatted away five would-be buckets from Vikings' shooters. Parker added 15 points and seven rebounds, two steals, and four assists.
"Jasmin [Edwards] set the tone for us early," Harada stated. Jasmine [Parker] took over down the stretch, playing some inspiring basketball in both ends."
The Wildcats' bench contributed 24 points on the evening, 35.8 percent of Central's points.
"Our bench was huge," Harada said. "Once they settled down, Mandy [Steward] and Sadie Mensing really gave us a lift and Rachel [Lorentson] hit some timely shots and played some great defense as well."
The Wildcats' well-rounded effort saw 28 points in the paint, 13 points off of turnovers, and 12 offensive rebounds.
"More than anything I think the team realizes what they are capable of and hopefully we can play with the same kind of energy and fight the rest of the season," Harada added.
Central looks to build off the victory and carry the momentum into next week's contests. The Wildcats take on Alaska Anchorage on Thursday (Jan. 14) in Ellensburg before hosting the Nanooks of Alaska Fairbanks on Saturday (Jan. 16). Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m. Thursday and 4 p.m. on Saturday.