Simon Fraser advances to Round of 16 after defeating Grand Canyon 76-59
BELLINGHAM, Wash. -- Simon Fraser advanced to the NCAA West Region title game after defeating Grand Canyon 76-59 on Monday.
"I thought we did a good job of containing their two big scorers," head coach Bruce Langford said. "Judy Jones is obviously a great driver and we tried to clog up the lane and give her some problems in there. We didn't want Maylinn Smith to go off on threes and I thought we contested them pretty hard. I was pleased with our defensive intensity the whole game."
Kristina Collins led the Clan, scoring 19 points and notching five assists. She was the game leader in both categories. Collins was 5-for-7 from beyond the arc in the game, 4-for-4 from the free throw line and added three rebounds and two steals.
"I liked our mental and physical preparation," Collins said. "We took care of our bodies on our off day and were ready to come out and play hard. I was excited about my shooting. I wasn't thinking about it but I felt good and the shots seemed to come naturally."
Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe followed with 15 points and grabbed a game-high 11 rebounds. Erin Chambers and Katie Lowen each had 11 points. Chambers also had a team-high three steals and was a perfect 4-for-4 from the field, including two 3-pointers.
SFU shot 57 percent in the game, 53 percent from beyond the arc and 80 percent from the free throw line while GCU could only manage 36 percent shooting, 25 percent from 3-point range and 73 percent from the free throw line.
The Antelopes had three players in double digits, as Maylinn Smith had 17 points, Judy Jones had 15 and Jasmine Cannon had 11. A strong first half was key in the Clan's win as Simon Fraser outscored GCU 42-26 in the opening 20 minutes.
With the Clan women leading 23-20 with 7:54 remaining in the opening half Raincock-Ekunwe hit a jumper that sparked a 10-0 run for the Clan. By the end of the half, the Clan run was expanded to 19-6 and SFU took their 16-point lead into the locker room.
"Despite the lead we didn't do a good job on the boards in the first half. We tried to fix that in the second half an reinforce what we were doing with their two top players," Langford said.
SFU capitalized on GCU turnovers in the first half, outscoring the Antelopes 16-2 off of turnovers.
The Clan lead got as high as 24 points in the second half when Raincock-Ekunwe hit a jumper with 10:39 remaining, and Belce Yoruk matched it when she made a jumper with 5:49 remaining.
With 24 seconds left, Lowen put in a layup to wrap things up, giving the Clan a 17-point victory.
Simon Fraser now moves on to the round of 16 on Tuesday for the NCAA West Region title game against the winner of WWU and CSU Monterey Bay.
"Whoever advances to [the] final is obviously going to be a very good team and will be ready to compete," Langford said. "Right now we need to sit back, relax and enjoy ourselves. We got to play the game that I like to play which is the first one and now we can watch to find out who we've got in the next one."