Falcon’ talons lose grip of championship

Tatum Odegard

Seattle hoops net No. 2

The SPU women’s basketball team came in second place overall in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference this past week. With two big wins against Simon Fraser and Alaska Anchorage, the Falcons lost in the championship game to Montana State Billings.

Earlier in the week, the team traveled up to Alaska to prepare for the conference. The first game of conference was on Thursday, March first against Simon Fraser.

The Falcons beat the Simon Fraser Clan 85-59.

The Falcons struggled to make their shots during the first quarter, earning only a 29 percent average. During the second and third quarter, however, the Falcons were able to pull their shooting averages up to over 50 percent.

Senior forward Courtney Hollander was the lead scorer of the team, racking up 17 points for the Falcons.

Alongside the win, the Falcons also managed to beat their old conference record of 33 field goals, earning 35 this game.

Jordan McPhee broke an SPU school record of 128 total career free throw makes during the Simon Fraser game, earning a total of 129 makes for her career.

Overall, out of the 10 Falcons who played, everyone scored, and nine of them had one or more rebounds and assists.

The Falcons only trailed behind once during the game in the first quarter by only two points. Their largest lead was by 32 points in the fourth quarter.

On Friday in the the semi-finals, the Falcons played against their rivals, Alaska Anchorage.

At their last two matchups, the Falcons were able to come away with a win, and this game proved to be the same.

The ending score was 74-65 in favor of the Falcons.

The Falcons scored the first 13 points of the game, however by the end of the first quarter, Anchorage led 17-13. Anchorage led late in the half 33-27, but SPU came back to tie it 33-33, ending with a three-point shot from Lindsey Lee.

Rachel Shim scored 18 points, eight of which were at the line. Four of those shots were crucial, and occurred during the last 30 seconds of the game.

Senior Julia Haining added 13 points.

During the second quarter, the lead changed five times, but in the second half, the Falcons never trailed. Their largest lead was by 15 points in the fourth quarter.

SPU’s shooting average was 53 percent (25 of 47), and they limited Anchorage to only 39.3 (22 of 56) percent.

Coming off of this win, the Falcons headed to the final game against Montana State Billings. SPU had beaten Billings in both the regular season and the conference this year.

This game proved to be different: The Falcons fell to the Yellowjackets at 71-61.

Despite their loss, the Falcons made a good team effort.

During the first quarter, Billings took the lead, and they kept the lead at the end of the first half with 26-29.

In the third quarter the lead changed twice, and each team scored 20 points, but the Yellowjackets ultimately ended the quarter with a three-point advantage (46-49).

In the final quarter, the lead changed twice and was held at a tie once. The largest lead was by Billings at 10 points in the last 17 seconds.

Regarding personal performances, Junior Riley Evans was one of the top scorer of the team, earning 18 points, 11 of which were in the fourth quarter.

Hollander earned 12 points, Haining’s scored 10 and McPhee scored seven.

Junior Jaylee Albert’s five assists lead the team total of 21 to 24 baskets.

The Yellowjacket’s Alisha Breen was the game’s lead scorer, earning 24 points total and 17 point in the second half.

Despite losing, the Falcons still have a chance of earning a spot in NCAA West Regionals with their No. 6 seed.

On Sunday night, the Falcons were selected to play in regionals, and will face UC San Diego (27-4) this Friday at Azusa Pacific University.

The other six teams in the tournament include Hawaii Pacific University (26-3), Montana State Billings (22-11), Northwest Nazarene (20-4), Azusa Pacific University (27-4), and Humboldt State (18-12).

The Falcons are currently ranked No. 6. When asked about the overall experience, head coach Julie Heisey stated:

“We are very excited to be moving forward. I’m very proud of how the girls played this week. Obviously we are disappointed to not have won in the in finals, but we are moving forward and we’ll see from there.”

This Friday, March 9, the Falcons will play at noon. If they win, they will play in the semifinals on Saturday at 5:00 p.m. The championship game is Monday, March 12, at 7:00 p.m.