Wildcats Earn Weekly Honor Following Home Sweep
During its six-game win streak, Central Washington has outscored opponents by almost eight points per game and has shot 49.3 percent from the field.
During its six-game win streak, Central Washington has outscored opponents by almost eight points per game and has shot 49.3 percent from the field.

Monday, February 5, 2018

PORTLAND, Ore. –  Earning its second GNAC home sweep of the season, Central Washington women’s basketball pushed its win streak to six games after a pair of victories over in-state rivals. To punctuate their prevailing efforts, the Wildcats have been tabbed as the Red Lion/GNAC Team of the Week.

Taking on Seattle Pacific as part of the Division II Basketball Showcase on ESPN3 last Thursday, Central Washington upended the Falcons 70-68 to earn its 14th win of the season. Central Washington continued its dominance on Saturday, beating Saint Martin’s 80-61 inside Nicholson Pavilion.

The Wildcats used a balanced scoring attack that saw four players average double-digit scoring over the weekend. Sophomore guard Alexis Pana led Central Washington with 11.5 points per game off the bench over the two contests while junior guard Sadie Mensing collected 11 points per game. Sophomore forward Kaelie Flores shot 45 percent (9-20) from the field for 10 points per game and pulled down 14 rebounds.

Down by 13 with 3:45 left in the third period on Thursday, Central Washington finished the night strong. With three seconds remaining in the contest, Pana converted the game-winning layup to finish with a team-high 19 points. Central Washington also received huge production from its bench, which accounted for 34 points.

“What a fun game to be a part of,” said first-year Central Washington head coach Randi Richardson-Thornley. “[Assistant coach] Stacey [Lukasiewicz] did an outstanding job with the defensive scout. We forced them out of their motion and forced them to take shots late in the shot clock. Our kids found ways to make plays. Even when we gave up offensive rebounds, they didn’t put their heads down and went back to defending. We didn’t allow them to score how they normally score, we forced them to score in different ways.”

On Saturday, Central Washington limited Saint Martin’s to just 32.9 percent shooting from the field to earn the season sweep over the Saints. Freshman forward Kassidy Malcolm recorded a career-high 19 points and 11 rebounds for her second double-double of the season. Senior forward Taylor Baird chipped in 12 points on 6 of 7 shooting while senior guard Jasmin Edwards added nine points and seven assists.

“Happy for our kids to get the win,” said Richardson-Thornley. “I’m proud of how we shot the ball in the first half and shared the ball the whole game. We had an intensity and energy drop in the second half that we need to learn from moving forward in order to become the team we know we are capable of being.”

During the six-game run, the Wildcats have outscored opponents by almost eight points per game and have shot 49.3 percent from the field. The ‘Cats have also locked down on defense, limiting opponents to just 27.2 percent shooting from beyond the arc. Central Washington enters the week tied for third in the GNAC at 10-4 and is No. 6 in the D2SIDA West Region Poll.

Central Washington continues its four-game homestand against a pair of teams in the top half of the standings. Winners of its last seven games, Northwest Nazarene (16-3, 12-2 GNAC) visits Central Washington Tuesday night before the Wildcats finish the week against Montana State Billings (16-8, 9-5 GNAC) on Thursday.