Western Wash. tops Western Oregon
Vikings reach 20-win plateau for 29th time
Western Washington Athletics
MONMOUTH, Ore. -- Center Lauren Hefflin scored a game-high 20 points, 18 in the second half, and guard Amanda Dunbar added 15 as nationally-ranked Western Washington University overcame frigid shooting to defeat Western Oregon University, 59-50, in a Great Northwest Athletic Conference women's basketball game Monday at the New P.E. Building on the WOU campus.
The Vikings, who are seventh in the latest week's USA Today ESPN NCAA Division II Top 25, improved to 20-1 overall and extended their GNAC lead to three games at 13-0 with their 15th consecutive triumph, matching the third longest in school history. Their last loss was 65-62 in overtime to Chico State on Dec. 10, 2010.
The win clinches at least a tie for second in the GNAC for WWU and no worse than a No.4 seed in the league's post-season tournament as the Vikings become the first team to be assured of a first-round home game on Monday, Feb. 28.
Western Oregon fell to 8-12 overall and 6-6 in GNAC action with its sixth loss in eight games. The Wolves were led by Sara Zahler, who had 16 points and eight rebounds.
The Vikings trailed 25-21 at halftime after shooting 20.8 percent from the field, hitting just five of 24 shots and missing all seven of their 3-point attempts. They were behind by as many as nine points, 22-13, with 3:31 left in the first half before closing with an 8-3 run.
WWU, playing its third game in six days, scored the first 11 points of the second half over a three-minute span for a 32-25 advantage.
WOU got back within two, 34-32, with 14:21 left on a 3-pointer by Zahler. But the Vikings got treys from Corinn Waltrip and Kristin Schramm for a 40-32 advantage with 12:28 to go and the Wolves never got closer than four after that.
WOU was still within five, 55-50, with a minute to play, but did not score again and Hefflin and Waltrip each hit two free throws for the final margin.
The Vikings shot a season-low 32.7 percent (16-of-49) from the field, but held WOU to 28.6 percent (14-of-49) floor shooting.
WWU made 24-of-29 free throws (82.8 percent) and outrebounded the Wolves, 41-33. Forward Gabby Wade grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds for the Vikings and Hefflin had nine.
It was the 850th win for WWU in the 40-year history of the women's hoop program. The Vikings have won 74.4 percent of the time with just 293 losses.