Thursday night brought a hard fought battle between Simon Fraser and Northwest Nazarene, with the home team eventually pulling out the win. It was a slow, grind it out affair in which most of the game seemed to be played at the free throw line.
The game did not start this way, however, as coast-to-coast action favored the Clan early. Back to back layups by Kett separated by a charge taken by Elisa Homer capped a 9–0 run to start the game for Simon Fraser. While all things seemed to be going Simon Fraser’s way early, Northwest Nazarene crawled their way back into the game by the end of the first quarter, as the teams went into the second quarter with a score of 23–19 for SFU.
Simon Fraser went back to their starting lineup to start the second quarter, and Homer nailed a three-pointer to start the frame. Some strong play by Meg Wilson and Ozi Nwabuko in the paint helped the Clan extend their lead to 13 heading into the break. By the end of the half, Simon Fraser were up 44–31. Kett was leading the way for the Clan with 14 points on a perfect 3–3 from the field and 8–8 from the line.
At the half, there was a paper airplane toss contest for the fans, with a prize of a $500 gift card from the bookstore for whoever could get their plane in a bin lined up at centre court. To everybody’s dismay, there was no winner. Luckily, there was still another half of basketball to be played.
In the third quarter, things got rough. Simon Fraser missed multiple open shots to start the quarter as Northwest Nazarene crept back into the game. There were two jump ball calls early, and diving bodies across the court. An absurd amount of free throws for the visitors helped the Crusaders cut the lead to as little as two. As the teams went into the fourth quarter, the score was 63–58. At this point, all momentum seemed to be going in Northwest Nazarene’s favour. Free throws were the story of the half, as the visitors went to the line 33 times in the second half compared to eight in the first half.
When asked about it after the game, coach Bruce Langford stated: “When you get in foul trouble, you put people on the line, and they shoot the free throw well.” He also added, “I thought they were very physical, and I thought their coach got on the refs a bit.”
In the fourth quarter, Simon Fraser showed they were the better team. Three-pointers on three straight possessions by Kett and Homer gave the Clan a 75–65 lead with 6:42 left. More scoring from those two and a Tia Tsang layup helped Simon Fraser extend the lead to as much as 18 in the final frame. The game finished with a score of 99–90 for the home team.
Ellen Kett was definitely the best player on the court in the game, finishing with 30 points on 7–9 field goal shooting and 12–12 from the line, (including four three-pointers), seven assists, and only one turnover. The 30 points was a career high, and it was one of the most efficient stat lines you will ever see. While the scoring definitely stands out, her passing ability was on full display throughout the game. When asked about it after the game, coach Langford said, “She looks like she’s burrowing her way through a tunnel, but she sees the floor the whole time.”
Meg Wilson was back to her scoring ways, as she finished with 20 points on 8–16 shooting from the field. Elisa Homer and Ozi Nwabuko both chipped in with 12 points as well.
With this win, Simon Fraser extends their win streak to four games, and are now 12–1 in their last 13 games. They improve to 11–2 in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference and 20–3 overall.
Next Game: Simon Fraser will look to continue their winning ways as they host Central Washington University on Saturday at 5 p.m. Look for Ellen Kett and Meg Wilson to build on their strong performances. Given the way they are playing, the Clan should win against the 3–10 Central Washington University Wildcats.