Nighthawks Women's Hoops Win Team of the Week
Northwest Nazarene went 2-0 at the Sea Lions Thanksgiving Classic, defeating Point Loma 71-64 and Concordia Irvine 75-62.
Northwest Nazarene went 2-0 at the Sea Lions Thanksgiving Classic, defeating Point Loma 71-64 and Concordia Irvine 75-62.

Monday, November 29, 2021

PORTLAND, Ore. – After starting the season 0-2 despite being picked to finish third in the GNAC, the Northwest Nazarene women’s basketball team could have panicked. They didn’t.

The Nighthawks have won four in a row, including two wins this week at the Sea Lions Thanksgiving Classic against Point Loma and Concordia Irvine, who were picked to finish third and fourth in the PacWest Conference. After two comfortable wins against formidable regional opponents, the Nighthawks were named the GNAC Team of the Week.

“I’m really proud of the improvement we’ve shown so far this year,” head coach Steve Steele said. “It feels good to beat two extremely tough, well-coached teams on the road this week.”

Teagan Thurman was NNU’s top performer despite coming off the bench in both games. She averaged 14 points and 11.5 rebounds over the course of the two wins, buoyed by a 20-point, 13-rebound double-double in the win over Concordia.

While Northwest Nazarene recorded two wins during the week, the manner in which they achieved those wins couldn’t be more different. In Friday’s win over Point Loma, the Nighthawks were still in the Thanksgiving spirit and decided to let everybody eat. Ten NNU players scored and eight different Nighthawks had over five points in a 71-64 victory.

Junior point guard Lydia Nieto led the way with 11 points by getting to the basket, drawing contact and going 8-for-10 from the free-throw line. Freshman Ashlynn Sylve also had 11 points on 5 of 6 shooting while Thurman was a ball magnet, grabbing 10 boards and three steals.

The Nighthawks shone as a team defensively, holding the Sea Lions to 31 percent shooting for the game and only three made field goals in the first half. On the flip side, NNU shot 42 percent from the field, spearheaded by a 5-for-6 night from Sylve, a 4-for-9 game from forward Erin Jenkins for nine points and 3-for-4 shooting from sophomore guard Cami Knishka, who splashed both three-pointers she attempted.

Against Concordia Irvine on Saturday, NNU dominated the glass and asserted themselves as the more physical team. If the Nighthawks were sharing the wealth on Friday, then Thurman and Nyalam Thabach took all the leftovers for themselves on Saturday in a 75-62 win. Both forwards scored 20 points and were incredibly efficient – Thurman shot 10-for-13 from the field while Thabach was 9-for-11.

Led by Thurman’s 13 boards, the Nighthawks outrebounded CUI 33-18 and had such a mismatch inside that they scored 75 points while only attempting four three-pointers all game. Junior guard Jordan Pinson drained the only three-pointer that went in, along with dishing out a team-high four assists.

The Nighthawks’ four-game win streak has earned them some regional recognition, as Northwest Nazarene checked in at No. 10 in the latest D2SIDA West Region Poll after previously being unranked. They will test themselves against GNAC competition for the first time this upcoming week, traveling to Montana State Billings on Thursday and Seattle Pacific on Saturday.

“We still have a long way to go, but hopefully we can carry some momentum into conference play,” Steele said.