SFU splits games at conference championship, makes Nationals
The Simon Fraser women’s basketball team was in action last week for the Great Northwest Athletic Conference Championships. Their first opponent was the Seattle Pacific Falcons, and they had to win to move on to the final against their rival, the Western Washington Vikings.
After gaining an early twopoint lead, the Clan struggled to pull away throughout the first half. The Falcons took advantage of their opportunity with the Clan up 20–16. They scored nine of the next 10 points in the game to lead 25–21 at halftime.
The Clan needed to dig deep if they wanted to keep their season going and move on to the finals. After an initial lull to start the half, SFU found their rhythm.
The game was tied at 31, with just under 17 minutes to play. Over the next five minutes, each team led three times, until the Clan took the lead for good.
Erin Chambers knocked down a jump shot giving the Clan a 38–37 lead. This started a barrage of Clan points, leading to a 19–4 run which locked up the victory for SFU.
“We had a lot better movement in the second half,” said Chambers. “We came out strong as a team, got the ball inside, and hit some threes.” She finished with 20 points and five rebounds.
With the victory, the stage was set for a final of epic proportions. The number one ranked Western Washington Vikings vs. the number two ranked Simon Fraser Clan.
Unfortunately for the Clan, the Vikings were a much stronger team on the night. SFU fell into a 19–6 hole over the first 13 minutes of the game.
Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe led the Clan with four points and eight rebounds in the first half. But SFU trailed by 11 at halftime. They needed to come out flying in the second half to even have a chance at a comeback.
Although the Clan cut the lead to six early on the second half, that was as close as they got. The Vikings took ownership of the paint, dominating SFU 22–8 in the second half.
In the end, Western Washington took home the hardware with a 60–40 win. Raincock-Ekunwe completed her second double-double in as many games in the losing effort.
Clan head coach Bruce Langford was not impressed with his team’s performance. “When your best players aren’t your best players, you get results like that,“ he said. “We’re going to need to learn from this if we get into the national tournament next week, because if we don’t, we’ll be one and done.”
It’s not all bad. The Clan will get their shot at redemption, as they entered the NCAA Championship as the second ranked team in the western region.
They began March 16 against their GNAC rival, the seventh ranked Northwest Nazarene Crusaders. All results can be found at athletics.sfu.ca, or see the full bracket on the NCAA website.