Last second bucket leads to win

Daniel Newman

Carly Rataushk scored the final bucket of the game with seven seconds left on the clock, giving SPU the win last Thursday.

The Seattle Pacific University Women’s basketball team won 61-59 over the Vikings of Western Washington University. The Thursday, Jan. 17, matchup was not the only game of the week for the Falcons. Unfortunately, the Falcons lost 69-60 to Simon Fraser University on Saturday, after a barrage of 3s did them in.

Jaylee Albert works her way towards the net to score any point for SPU. Alison Meharg | The Falcon

The results push their record to 4-4 in conference matchups and just one win and four losses in their last five games.

“We have been playing good basketball for stretches leading up to our game versus Western Washington and being able to put together a quality game for almost 40 minutes is a real confidence boost,” Falcons head coach Mike Simonson said after the WWU matchup on Thursday.

“We have been sensing we are close to getting over the hump and that win gives us the belief we can compete with anyone in our conference.”

The Falcons had lost three in a row coming into the game against WWU and didn’t get off to a good start in this game either, only hitting two of their 12 shots in the first quarter.

The roles were reversed in the second quarter.

The Falcons outscored the Vikings 21-11, led by eight points from guard Jade Skidmore and five points from Bennett. Also, in the second quarter the Vikings made four of their 13 shots and had seven turnovers.

Faced with a brand-new game in the second half, the Falcons made the most of it, going on a quick 10-0 run to begin the third quarter.

The Falcons continued to push and led by two with one minute to go when Vikings guard Lexie Bland hit a jumper to tie the game.

With the Falcons top scorer, guard Riley Evans, shooting 2-7 from the field, and second highest scorer, forward Cici West on the bench with five fouls, they went to the sophomore Hailee Bennett. Bennett drove through the defense and found Rataushk three feet from the hoop, who laid the ball in, the Falcons walked away with the win.

Bennett paced the Falcons with 17, hitting two 3-pointers and making all five of her free throws. She also had three rebounds and three assists along the way.

“Hailee Bennett is a spark plug, she is always giving energy to her teammates,” Simonson said. “So far this year, she has really stepped it up defensively. … We have always known she is a great offensive player, so it was great to see her contribute on both ends the court against Western. She really took the load off of some of our other strong offensive players.”

Haliee Bennett works her way towards the net to score for SPU against Simon Fraser on Saturday. Alison Meharg | The Falcon

Albert made three 3-pointers during the game and scored 11 points, and Skidmore had 10 points off the bench.

Rodgers lead the way for the Vikings, scoring 14 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Bland was close behind with 13 points, three rebounds and three assists. Castaneda added 11 points, while making two 3-pointers.

The Falcons rode the momentum from Thursday’s win into Saturday’s game against Simon Fraser University. However, SPU was unable to grab the win. The Falcons lost 69-60.

Last Saturday, Riley Evans reached 20 points for the Falcons for the fifth time this season, grabbing four rebounds as well.

Bennett continued her good play as well, scoring 14 points, and Rataushk scored 12 points and grabbed eight rebounds.

The Clan, who took over 60 percent of their shots in the game from the 3-point line, hit 15 3-pointers on the way to the win.

“They live and die by the 3-point line,” Evans said after the game, “They are a very streaky team … but they certainly got going tonight and that was difficult to stop once they felt comfortable.”

Drynan hit seven of the Clan’s 3s, giving her 21 points, and added four assists. Forward Sophie Swant had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Sands had 11 points off the bench.

The results this week give the Falcons fifth place by themselves in the standings, with four wins and four losses.

The team will head to Alaska next week to face Alaska Fairbanks on Thursday, who do not have a conference win in the season. They will face a tougher test against Alaska Anchorage on Saturday, who are ranked 12th in the nation, their only conference loss coming to fourth ranked Northwest Nazarene University.

Coach Simonson knows that the schedule is getting tougher, but said, “We have shown the resiliency to compete. We have been blessed with adversity this season and it is our hope that we can use it to our advantage against quality opponents because we have been through the fire already.”