BELLINGHAM, Wash. — Guard Corinn Waltrip scored a game-high 29 points to lift tourney host Western Washington to a 75-58 triumph against Simon Fraser in Tuesday’s championship game of the West Regional of the 2013 NCAA Division II Women’s Basketball Championship before a crowd of 1,129 at Sam Carver Gymnasium. Waltrip was named the region’s most outstanding player.
The Vikings, the No.1 seed in the West Region and ranked fifth in the USA Today Coaches’ poll, improved to 28-3 in claiming their first regional championship since 2000. They will face South Region champion Nova Southeastern in a national quarterfinal in San Antonio on March. 26.
Simon Fraser, the No. 2 seed and ranked No. 11 nationally, concluded its season at 25-6. Center Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, the Great Northwest Athletic Conference player of the year, had 19 points and eight rebounds for the Clan, scoring 17 of her points in the first half.
WWU held a narrow 41-40 lead early in the second half, then ran off 10 consecutive points in a two-minute span to establish its biggest lead of the game to that point with 11:28 to play. SFU never got closer than eight points after that.
Waltrip was 10 of 15 from the field, including five of nine 3-pointers. Center Britt Harris and forward each had 11 points for the Vikings, who shot 54.2 percent (26 of 48) from the floor, including eight of 16 treys.
Carla Wyman came off the bench to score 10 points for the Clan.
SFU used a run of six consecutive points to take the biggest lead of the first half, 28-22, with 4:55 remaining, and still was up six, 29-23, with less than three minutes to go in the period. But the Vikings closed with a 9-1 run, with Waltrip scoring seven of the points, to give WWU a 32-30 halftime lead.
“The turning point was the last few minutes of the first half,” WWU head coach Carmen Dolfo said. “We finally picked up our defense. In the second half, we came out and did the same thing. That’s our bread and butter, when we play well defensively, our offense gets going.”
WWU finished 16-0 at home and has 20 consecutive victories at Carver Gym during the past two seasons.
Joining Waltrip on the region all-tournament team were Raincock-Ekunwe, Harris, Judy Jones of Grand Canyon and Brittani Jefferson of Cal State Monterrey Bay.