2016 for SFU ended the same way it began – with a win against Concordia University. After defeating the Cavaliers on January 2, 2016, they did the same on New Year’s Eve, with a 80–58 victory.
Coming into the contest, SFU and Concordia were on two vastly different streaks. The visitors had lost four of their last five games played. In contrast, the Clan had won four of their last five.
The early portion of the game perhaps reflected the difference in confidence – SFU jumped out to a 20–4 lead and never really looked back — apart from a slip up near the end of the third quarter, when their lead was reduced to seven. After that, SFU went on a 13–3 run which was enough to eventually seal the win.
Leading the way for SFU was freshman Ozi Nwabuko, who had 18 points to lead the Clan in scoring. It’s her fifth game this season scoring 15 points, and has now become an indisputable part of the team’s starting lineup. A day after playing a mostly defensive role shutting down Western Oregon’s leading scorer Shelby Snook — limiting her to only six points and registering four assists — she’s shown a versatility that can hopefully continue throughout the season.
Senior Ellen Kett went four for six from behind the arc to register 14 points, while Elisa Homer had 12. Tayla Jackson returned to the lineup and had a limited role, playing only six minutes, but providing a block and an assist. Overall, it was a good night for SFU shooters as they went close to 50% from the field.
Despite scoring a season high 80 points, it was defence that was equally as impressive. SFU was able to force 23 Concordia turnovers, and SFU had ten blocks — four from Meg Wilson alone. Sophie Swant had four steals in 26 minutes of action, tying a season high for her, and also had six defensive rebounds.
Next up for SFU are games against Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene, both on the road, on Thursday and Saturday respectively. Central Washington is 0–3 in conference play, but have one of the best scoring defences in the GNAC, sitting third with 58.7 points per game. Northwest Nazarene in contrast are 3–0 in conference play, third in scoring offence with 77.9 points per game, but have the worst scoring defence, giving up 75.9 points per game.
They will likely be drastically different games for SFU, but the good news is that this team appears to be able to win many different ways — high scoring games such as the 78–75 win over Dominicana State on November 22 and tight defensive contests such as the 56–47 victory over Cal Poly Pomona on November 26. Recent history is also on the side of the Clan; SFU was a combined 4–1 against Central Washington and Northwest Nazarene last season, including a 78–67 victory in the playoffs last season over Central Washington.