Women’s basketball ends after heartbreaking three-point loss

Image Credit: Hamed Yaghoubi Shahir /The Peak
Image Credit: Hamed Yaghoubi Shahir /The Peak
Image Credit: Hamed Yaghoubi Shahir /The Peak

The SFU women’s basketball season came to an end Friday, March 6, when they lost 59–56 to the Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves in their second playoff game. The Clan held the lead much of the game, but with three minutes left, the Seawolves got the upper hand.

With 40 seconds to go, SFU was down by only three, but despite three-point attempts by Erin Chambers and Katie Lowen, nothing would go in. The season was over.

“We had two open looks [for a three-pointer] at the buzzer, and [the ball] felt good coming out my hands, but it just didn’t go down,” reflected Chambers. “I’m pretty sure I’m going to have nightmares about that shot.

“But it’s part of the game, and how it goes, [and] I love to play and I love that competition, so it will subside soon.”

Aside from the heartbreaking finish, it was a good end to an inconsistent season. The Alaska-Anchorage Seawolves were ranked first nationally, and for much of the game the Clan maintained a solid lead.

“We gave them their toughest game this year,” said head coach Bruce Langford.

This year was a difficult one for the Clan, who suffered their first three-game losing streak since 2011 and had a record just above .500 — a contrast to their previous two seasons, where they went 20–10 and 25–6, respectively.

“There were some frustrating times,” admitted Langford. “I thought we were less consistent this year than we’ve ever been. I think that inconsistency hurt us. We weren’t as deep as we’ve been in the past and that may have hurt us a bit.”

Perhaps a part of that challenge this season was the inexperience of the team. Only two of the players were seniors, and two juniors — and of those four, only three are returnees to the Clan program.

“It’s a very young team. We really only had three seasoned players, and I think that that was a bigger factor than I thought it was going to be,” Langford said. “I think that we’re entering a crucial offseason, where it’s really important that [the players] look at where they want to get to, and work really hard to get there.”

However, he noted that the team got better as the season went on: “We played better in the last few weeks, we tightened up defensively, and I thought that was nice to see.”

This season saw two key milestones: Langford became the winningest women’s basketball head coach at SFU when he won his 364th game on January 17 — Langford is now up to 370 — and Chambers became the all-time highest scorer in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, passing the previous record of 1,831.

Chambers, in her fourth and final year of NCAA eligibility, finished the season with 1,946 points.

“I’ve enjoyed my four years here, I’ve made lifelong friends, and enjoyed playing basketball up here, so I’m okay with it,” she said of wrapping up her collegiate career. “It’s one chapter of my life that’s done, and there will be new things to come.”