Western Washington Reaches Region Semifinals
Viking coach Carmen Dolfo and team come together after winning quarterfinal game Saturday (Photo by Dan Levine)
Viking coach Carmen Dolfo and team come together after winning quarterfinal game Saturday (Photo by Dan Levine)

Saturday, March 16, 2013

BELLINGHAM, Wash. - Western Washington broke open a tight game with a surge early in the second half and went on to claim a 70-50 triumph over Academy of Art in Game 4 of Saturday’s opening round of the NCAA Division II West Regional at Sam Carver Gymnasium.

The Vikings, the No.1 seed in the West Region and ranked No.5 nationally in NCAA Division II, improved to 26-3 with their ninth straight victory.  They'll face Cal State Monterrey Bay in a regional semifinal Monday at 5 p.m.

Center Britt Harris, the Daktronics West Region Player of the Year, had a game-high 15 points and 10 rebounds for WWU, which had all five starters score in double figures. It was the third double-double of the season for Harris.

Academy of Art, the No.8 seed, had a nine-game winning streak snapped and concluded its season 23-9. Jordan Rogers had 11 points for the Urban Knights and Regina Camera added 10.

WWU, which trailed 27-24 at halftime, opened second half  by hitting five of their first six shots and holding the Urban Knights scoreless for nearly four minutes, enabling the Vikings to run off 12 straight points and take a 36-27 lead. 

AAU rallied and was still down by just one (39-38)  with 14 minutes left, but WWU then broke the game open, going on a 21-4 charge over a 6:30 span to take a 60-42 lead with 6:12 to play.

“We got into a helter-skelter game in first half,” said WWU coach Carmen Dolfo. “In the second half we calmed down and we played together.  We turned the ball over less in the second half and we didn’t give up second chances.”

The first half featured five lead changes and two ties, with WWU holding the biggest advantage at five on two occasions in the first minutes. AAU held a three-point lead at halftime despite shooting just 28.6 percent (10-of-25) from the field.

Guard Corinn Waltrip had 14 points for the Vikings to increase her career total to 996 points. Katie Colard contributed 12 points on four 3-pointers. Trishi Williams added 11 points and a game-high 11 rebounds and Sarah Hill scored 10 points.

WWU was 8-of-19 (42.1 percent) on 3-pointers, hitting 6-of-8 in the second half.