For the first two or three minutes of the second quarter, it looked like Western Washington was going to run away with the game. In two minutes, they took a two-point lead and made it a 13-point lead.
While there are always ebbs and flows in games — leads can expand and contract momentarily — it seemed like the makings of a blowout.
It was quite impressive to see SFU come back and make a competitive game out of it, even if it didn’t end up a win.
“We got some energy,” said head coach Bruce Langford. “We contested some of their shots and made it tough for them. And more importantly, we got rolling offensively.”
Rachel Fradgley and Sophie Swant put up much of the team’s points in this period. After the Vikings burst out to a 13-point lead, they only managed two more points — both off separate free throws — the entire quarter.
SFU went into halftime down only four, making the score 29–25.
While Western Washington got back to an eight-point lead in the third quarter, SFU’s comeback continued from there. Tayla Jackson led the charge, looking particularly dominant, putting up 11 of her season-high 13 points in the quarter. She has only hit double-digit points three previous times this year.
“She competed hard,” said Langford of the 6’3 centre, who transferred from NCAA Division I UC Irvine in the off-season. “It was her best game of the year, I thought, by far.”
“We didn’t shoot the ball very well, and if you don’t shoot the ball very well, you have little to no chance.”
Samantha Beauchamp put in a layup to tie the game and give SFU its first lead of the game since the opening two points by Fradgley. Fradgley put in another two to put SFU up by three. In the quarter, SFU dominated, putting up 24 points to the Vikings’ 17 while in the game, SFU led 49–46.
However, problems that had plagued the Clan all game came to a head in the fourth quarter.
SFU wasn’t good shooting the ball, going 25-for-67 (37.3%) from the field, and only had two three-pointers. Ellen Kett, who is normally one of SFU’s best shooters, struggled from the field, scoring only one field goal in 10 attempts, as did Elisa Homer, whose only points on the night came from a lone three-pointer.
“We got in foul trouble early,” explained Langford. “We just lost our composure there for a couple of seconds. We had two terrible floor shots, one from one of our best players, and when you have a four-point swing, and then you go down and have two terrible offensive possessions, that becomes seven points — that’s a challenge.”
Prior to the fourth, the calls were pretty even (SFU had 11 to Western Washington’s 12). SFU was handed nine fouls to Western Washington’s four. While SFU struggled in the fourth, Western Washington put up their most offensively potent quarter of the game, putting up 25 points (their other highest quarter was 17).
After being held off the scoresheet in the third quarter, Vikings star guard Taylor Peacocke — who in the last game against SFU put up 41 points — put up 11 points in the fourth quarter alone. She finished with 26 points.
“They’ve got three kids that can really score [Peacock, Kiana Gandy, and Tia Briggs], and the three kids scored,” said Langford. “We didn’t shoot the ball very well, and if you don’t shoot the ball very well, you have little to no chance.”
Jackson and Swant led SFU with 13 points, while Fradgley had 12 and Meg Wilson had 11. Despite struggling from the field, Kett was still productive, putting up 11 assists — her 13th game with double-digit assists is a Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) record — and six defensive rebounds.
“Despite our loss today, I think we maybe grew a bit and found out a little bit more about ourselves,” said Langford.
Having already clinched a playoff spot, the loss to Western Washington, who sits in second place, guarantees a third-place spot in the GNAC to SFU.
Next Game: Before returning home, the women’s basketball team has one last regular season road game. They face the Montana State Billings Yellowjackets this Saturday.
Statistically, the Yellowjackets are the worst team in the GNAC, with the worst scoring offence (59.5 points per game) and the second-worst scoring defence (they allow 71.2 points per game). That said, they still have five conference wins, including two in the last four games.
The last time these two teams met, SFU won 86–72 at home.
Tip-off is at 4:15 p.m.