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Western Washington Ousts Saints In Semifinal
Play Video WWU junior Jenni White (center) totaled 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds in the Vikings' 81-71 semifinal win over Saint Martin's.
WWU junior Jenni White (center) totaled 15 points, nine assists and five rebounds in the Vikings' 81-71 semifinal win over Saint Martin's.

Friday, March 7, 2014

LACEY, Wash. – Shooting guard Katie Colard scored a game-high 23 points and point guard Jenni White added 15 points and tied a career high with nine assists as Western Washington held off host Saint Martin’s for an 81-71 semifinal victory Friday at the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championships at Marcus Pavilion.

Forward Sydney Donaldson had 17 points and freshman Taylor Peacocke  came off the bench to score 10 for the defending champion Vikings,  who improved to 18-9.

WWU, the tournament's No. 2 seed, advances to the GNAC title game for the fourth straight year. They'll play fourth-seeded Simon Fraser (18-8), which defeated top-seeded Montana State Billings 85-74 in Friday's second semifinal. Saint Martin’s, the No.6 seed, ended its season at 18-11.

Megan Wiedeman had 17 points and a game-high 15 rebounds for the Saints, who also got 17 points from Chelsea Haskey. Wiedeman finished her tournament with 32 rebounds. 

WWU, which never trailed in the contest, built an 18-point lead (42-24) with two minutes left in the opening half and led by 15 (44-29) at halftime.

But Saint Martin’s, which had won four in a row, outscored the Vikings 17-4  in the first 5:44 of the second half to close the margin to two at 48-46.

“Saint Martin’s has done that to us every game this season,” said WWU coach Carmen Dolfo who has 493 wins in 23 seasons. “They just never give up, but we made some big shots to turn it around.”

WWU used an 11-5 run with Colard scoring five points for a 59-51 advantage with 8:19 to go and led by 12 (68-56)  with 4:41 remaining. The closest the Saint got after that was five on two occasions, the last at 72-67 with 1:20 left before the Vikings made seven of their last eight free throws.

WWU, which has won seven of its last eight games and 15 of 19 following a 3-5 start, shot 58.1 percent (18-of-31) from the field in the first half, including 4-of-7 from 3-point range.

The Vikings made 23-of-30 free throws (76.7 percent) in the game, hitting 19-of-24 in the second half. White had eight of her assists in the first half.

“She did an awesome job of distributing the ball,” Dolfo said.            

The victory was the 14th straight by WWU in their series with Saint Martin’s. The Vikings, who won all three meetings this season. Colard. meanwhile, extended her string of games hitting a trey to 32, making 3-of-7.

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