GNAC Women Game 3: Simon Fraser Advances with 66-55 Win
Katie Benson of Seattle Pacific and Simon Fraser's Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe jockey for position in Friday's semifinal.
Katie Benson of Seattle Pacific and Simon Fraser's Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe jockey for position in Friday's semifinal.

Friday, March 8, 2013

LACEY, Wash. –  Erin Chambers scored 20 points, including 15 in the second half, as second-seed Simon Fraser pulled away from sixth-seed Seattle Pacific for a 66-55 win  in a GNAC Women’s Basketball Championship  semifinal game Saturday at Marcus Pavilion.

The Clan (23-4), which has won six straight, will play in Saturday’s 5:15 p.m. championship game against top-seed Western Washington.  That game will be broadcast on ROOT Sports.

Seattle Pacific led 25-21 at halftime as neither team led by more than four points in the period during which there were six ties.

The Clan, which shot just 23.3 percent in the opening 20 minutes (7 of 30) and two of 15 from the arc, finally took command midway through the second half going on an 18-2 run to pull ahead 54-39 with 8:05 remaining.

SPU’s only points during that stretch was two free throws by Maddey Pflaumer as the Falcons went nearly six minutes without a field goal.

Chambers got the first two points of that decisive stretch to give SFU, which made six of 13 three-pointers in the final 20 minutes, a 38-37 lead with 12:55 remaining.

Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe, who recorded her league-leading 19thdouble-double of the season (13 points, 11 rebounds) then took over scoring the next six points. Kia Van Laare got the next five including a three-pointer before Katie Lowen closed out the run with a trey and two. Lowen finished the contest with 15 points.

The closest SPU got the rest of the way was 11 points on a pair of free throws by Katie Benson with 10 seconds left.

Benson, who missed most of the first half after picking up two quick fouls, led Seattle Pacific, which finished its season with a 17-11 record with 14 points,  while Aubree Callen had 13 points and a game-high five assists.

“The first half, we couldn't have played any better than we did,” Falcon coach Julie Heisy  said. “For us to be ahead by four with Katie on the bench for 18 minutes … our defense was so good, we did a good job on the boards, and different kids rose to the occasion on offense.”

After its cold start from the floor, Simon Fraser warmed up in the second half, shooting 60.7 percent (17-28) to finish with a 41.4 percentage.  SPU shot slightly better (42.9 on 21 of 49), but committed seven more turnovers (22-15).

SFU helped create many of the turnovers forcing 13 steals including three by Kristina Collins.