Vikings Beat SFU to Win GNAC Women's Basketball Title
Western Washington has won four GNAC titles.
Western Washington has won four GNAC titles.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

LACEY, Wash. - Western Washington held Simon Fraser to just six points in the first 14 minutes and never looked back, claiming a 60-40 victory in the championship game of the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Championships Saturday at Marcus Pavilion.

Forward Trishi Williams, who was selected the tournament MVP, had game-highs of 16 points, six steals and five assists for the Vikings who improved to 25-3 with their eighth straight victory.

Williams’ six steals was a GNAC single-game tournament record breaking the old mark of five.

It is the first GNAC tournament crown for the Vikings, who earned the top seed and the regular-season title with a 17-1 conference record.  WWU, which is ranked sixth nationally, fell to Alaska Anchorage in the championship game the last two seasons.  The Vikings have won four regular-season titles.

GNAC Player of the Year Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe had 12 points and a game-high 14 rebounds for Simon Fraser, but Raincock-Ekunwe, who entered the game leading NCAA II nationally in field goal percentage at 65.9 percent, was just 2-of-8 from the floor.

The Vikings held a 7-4 lead seven minutes into the game, then outscored SFU 12-2 over the next 7:30, with Sydney Donaldson  scoring the first six points, to take a 19-6 lead with 5:40 remaining in the first half.

WWU held a 27-16 lead at halftime, holding the Clan to just 28 percent field goal shooting (7-of-25).

SFU, which is ranked 10th nationally, scored the first five points of the second half to narrow the margin to six, 27-21, on a Kristina Collins’ 3-pointer a minute into the period. 

But the Vikings, using 60.9 percent field-goal shooting (14-of-23) in the second half, eventually pulled away, and the gap remained in double digits throughout the last 15 minutes.

It was the 19th victory in the last 20 games for the Vikings, with the only loss in that span being a 74-59 defeat at Simon Fraser on Feb. 9.

The GNAC tourney champion earns an automatic berth in the NCAA II West Regional next week at a site to be determined.

Both WWU and Simon Fraser, which is now 23-5 on the season, had already clinched at-large berths at regionals.

The announcement of the full NCAA II National Tournament field, including the sites of the regionals, can be seen on Sunday at 7 p.m. Pacific time.