Vikings Defend Their House, Earn Team Of The Week
The Vikings lead the GNAC with 5.3 blocked shots per game, 18.6 assists per game and a .462 field goal percentage.
The Vikings lead the GNAC with 5.3 blocked shots per game, 18.6 assists per game and a .462 field goal percentage.

Monday, January 27, 2020

PORTLAND, Ore. – As all 11 teams reached the halfway point in conference play last week, the Western Washington women’s basketball team scored a much-needed sweep of the Alaska schools at home to gain ground in the standings and earn selection as the GNAC Team of the Week.

The Vikings opened the week with a 71-64 victory over first-place Alaska Anchorage on Thursday. The Seawolves were ranked No. 4 in the latest D2SIDA National Rankings and No. 5 in the latest WBCA poll. The Vikings closed the week with an 88-47 rout of Alaska on Saturday to win their third straight game.

The Vikings outscored the Seawolves 42-31 in the first half and never looked back, registering 10 steals and 10 blocks and forcing 22 turnovers for 18 points in the upset. The Vikings made 61.7 percent from the field, 53.8 percent from three-point range and 75 percent from the free throw line while limiting the Seawolves to 38.2 percent shooting from the field and 37.5 percent from long range.

“Our defense was determined to control the game and they did that tonight,” said head coach Carmen Dolfo about the win over the Seawolves. “We shared the ball well and moved it around. I am very proud of how they played together on both ends of the court. We talked about not playing to the score and playing one possession at a time.”

A complete team effort led the Vikings over the Nanooks. Four players scored in double digits while the bench combined for 44 points. Defense was the name of the game again as the Vikings totaled 12 steals and six blocks to limit the Nanooks to 29.8 percent shooting from the field and 11.8 percent from beyond the arc.

“Our team played solid defense. It was nice to get the whole team involved and I think it was a good team effort,” Dolfo said.

Junior guard Emma Duff led the Vikings with 28 points to go with 11 rebounds, four assists, three steals and two blocks in the two games as she connected on 57.9 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from three-point range. Duff opened the week with a game-high 20 points on 8 of 11 shooting from the field and 3 of 5 shooting from outside in Thursday’s win over the Seawolves then followed with eight points and seven rebounds in Saturday’s win over the Nanooks. Duff ranks eighth in the GNAC with a .510 field goal percentage, 11th with 6.1 rebounds per game and 22nd with 10.8 points per game.

Senior guard Lexie Bland scored in double digits in both games, opening the week with 10 points, eight assists and two steals against the Seawolves. She closed the week with 12 points, three rebounds, three assists and a steal against the Nanooks. Bland made 53.3 percent from the field and 60 percent from outside on the week. She ranks seventh in the conference with 3.3 assists per game while also ranking 35th with 8.1 points per game.

Senior center Anna Schwecke finished the week with totals of 20 points, 12 rebounds, four blocks and two steals. Her week was highlighted by her 18-point, seven-rebound performance against the Nanooks as she connected on 7 of 8 from the field and 4 of 5 from the free throw line. With her first points in the second quarter against the Nanooks, Schwecke eclipsed the 1,000-point milestone for her collegiate career. She now has 1,008 career points, 834 of which came in three seasons with the Vikings after transferring from UC-Colorado Springs.

Western Washington improved to 13-5 overall (7-3 GNAC) and sits in a tie with Simon Fraser for third place in the conference standings. The Vikings are ranked No. 6 in the latest D2SIDA West Region Rankings. Up next, the Vikings will continue their homestand as they host Concordia on Thursday and Western Oregon on Saturday.