Grasping for playoffs

Daniel Newman

Photo above features Carly Rataushik shoots a layup (Alison Meharg | The Falcon)

The Seattle Pacific University women’s basketball team suffered two big losses this week, falling 82-61 to Simon Fraser University on Thursday, Feb. 14, and 60-43 to Western Washington University on Saturday, Feb. 16.

If the season ended today, the Falcons would not be taking part in the playoffs, as their in-conference record of six wins and 10 losses has them tied in seventh place with Montana State Billings.

It is not all bad news for the team however. The Falcons have four games still left to play and are only one game behind sixth place Concordia University.

“We have to win the next three out of four games really to give ourselves a chance to make the tournament. We just have to take care of business,” said guard Riley Evans. “It has always been a goal to play our best basketball at the end of our season, so we really have to do that now and fulfill our goal.”

The Falcons were able to hang in both games that they played this week throughout the first half, but the opposition went on a run to take control of the game and pull away.
The Clan of Simon Fraser started out quickly, hitting five 3-pointers in the first quarter of the game to take a 23-15 lead. But in the second quarter, the Falcons returned the fire and hit four 3s, going on a 9-2 run at the end of the half, drawing within four points at halftime.

Coming out of halftime, the Falcons went on a quick 7-0 run to take the lead, but the Clan came back even faster with a 11-0 run to retake the lead. Baskets were traded between the two teams until the beginning of the fourth quarter, when the Clan went on a 16-2 run.

The Falcons didn’t make a shot until midway through the quarter, and the Clan hit eight of their 11 shots, including four of them from the 3-point line. This would prove to be the difference in the game.

Forward Cici West led the Falcons with 13 points, and grabbed eight rebounds. Guard Evans and center Carly Rataushk combined for 17 points off the bench.

For the Clan, forward Sophie Swant exploded for a career high 34 points, and added five assists. Guard Taylor Drynan added 17 points with eight assists, and guard Kendal Sands had 10 points.

The Falcons then headed to Bellingham to take on Western Washington University, and the Vikings jumped out to an 11-4 lead, as the Falcons only hit on one of their first eight shots. However, as the quarter went on, the Falcons’ shot percentage improved, as they made four of their last five shots to tie the game at 13.

Neither team could get much going on offense throughout the game, but with 6:30 left in the third quarter, Western Washington began to pull ahead, going on a 16-5 run throughout the rest of the quarter and into the fourth. The Falcons poor shooting continued, and the Vikings closed out the game in the last two minutes by hitting nine out of 10 free throws.

Guard Kaprice Boston was the only Falcon to reach double digits in the game, scoring 10 points and grabbing six rebounds. West added seven points and four rebounds, and guard Hailee Bennett made two of her five shots to give her a total of six points.

The Vikings, who nearly doubled the Falcons rebounding total in the game, were led by Center Anna Schwecke’s 16 points and nine rebounds. Guard Lexie Bland also had nine rebounds, while adding 14 points, and guard Emma Duff had 15 points.

The Alaska schools head into Royal Brougham this week, as the Falcons take on first place Alaska Anchorage and their 16-game win streak on Thursday. On Saturday, the Falcons will host last place Alaska Fairbanks on Senior Day.

Also in the news this week was the announcement of the GNAC all academic team.
The Falcons had five players make the list: guards Evans, Jaylee Albert, Madi Hingston and Hailee Bennett, and forward Cici West. It marks Albert and West’s third selection, Evans’ second, and Hingston and Bennett’s first.

“It was awesome for our team to get so many of us named in that. School always comes first for our team and our coaches emphasis that (sic) and I think the results show that,” said Evans.