Record Efforts, Big Wins Net Wildcats Team Of Week
Central Washington took a 79-52 win over Whitman on Saturday and a 92-44 win over Walla Walla on Saturday.
Central Washington took a 79-52 win over Whitman on Saturday and a 92-44 win over Walla Walla on Saturday.

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

PORTLAND, Ore. – Two non-conference wins for Central Washington women’s basketball not only proved to be confidence builders but also proved to be record-setting nights.

The Wildcats scored a 79-52 win over Whitman on Saturday before ending the non-conference schedule with a 92-44 rout of Walla Walla on Monday. For the two wins, and the attached record performances, Central Washington has been selected as the GNAC Team of the Week.

In the win over Whitman, senior forward Samantha Bowman set the conference single-game record with 31 rebounds, eclipsing the previous mark of 29 set by Bria Thames of Saint Martin’s against Concordia on Jan. 18, 2020, and equaled by Bowman against Concordia (Calif.) on Dec. 18, 2021. The performance tied Bowman for the eighth-best single-game performance in Division II history. The rebound record was part of a weighty double-double of 19 points and 31 rebounds.

Sophomore guard Valerie Huerta led the Wildcats in scoring with 24 points as CWU held the lead for all but three minutes of the contest against the Blues, picked to finish second in the Division III Northwest Conference. Four CWU players scored in double figures, which included 12 points for freshman guard Asher Cai and 10 points for junior guard Tori Maeda.

Against Walla Walla, it was Huerta’s time to etch her name in the record book. She went off for a conference-record 46 points, surpassing the previous mark of 45 set by Leamy Bankey of Western Oregon against Central Washington on Feb. 21, 2008. She also made 18 of 29 from the field with the 18 field goals surpassing the record of 18 set by Bankey in her record scoring game and equaled by Simon Fraser’s Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe against Northwest Nazarene on Feb. 18, 2012.

Huerta also made 4 of 7 from three-point range and 6 of 7 from the free-throw line as the Wildcats never trailed in the contest and made 55.2% from the field. Bowman added another double-double with 19 points and 15 rebounds while Cai contributed 13 points and 10 rebounds.

“I am happy for our team to receive the Team of the Week recognition,” said Central Washington head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley. “Our group has done a great job of focusing on what we can control and how we can get better and improve in the necessary ways we need to for GNAC play. I feel each week we have shown growth and that is all credit to their competitiveness and investment in each other. They have done a great job up until this point and I’m excited to continue to see how we can grow moving forward.”

Ranked No. 22 in the last Women’s Basketball Coaches Association Division II Poll and among teams receiving votes in the D2SIDA Media Poll (D2SIDA as of Dec. 13), Central Washington has won six in a row and boasts a 10-1 record. The Wildcats rank ninth in Division II in scoring (81 points per game) and second in rebounding (46.2 per game). The team also ranks first in Division II in defensive rebounds per game (33.1), fourth in three-pointers per game (10.2), 10th in field goal defense (.338) and 12th in assists per game (17.7).

Central Washington returns to conference play next week, traveling to Montana State Billings on Thurs., Dec. 29 and Seattle Pacific on Sat., Dec. 31.

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