The Viking women’s basketball team has its work cut out for it this week. With its final road games of the regular season against Idaho State and Weber State yet to be played, the team will attempt to end a sub-par road season on a high note. A 65-45 loss to Eastern Washington on Saturday in Cheney did little to help its cause.
Barring a three-point deficit in the first half, the Eagles were able to control the game almost from the start. The score favored Eastern Washington 40-27 at the break, and the Eagles were able to extend that lead to as much as 25 in the second half.
Portland State turned in a field-goal percentage of 43.6 (17-of-39) and was only able to convert 11 of 23 free throws. What sealed its fate was the fact that it turned the ball over 29 times and only recorded four assists. Comparatively, the Eagles did not fare much better from the field at 46.2 percent (24-of-52), and only out-rebounded the Vikings 34-32.
Eagle post Kathleen Nygaard led her team with 17 points. Michelle Demetruk and Janelle Ruen added 13 and 10 more points respectively. The Eagle win on Saturday broke a tie with PSU for fourth place in the league and gave the team a record of 15-8 overall, 6-4 in the Big Sky Conference.
“We’ve got to keep the ball out of (Sarah) Hedgepeth’s hands and keep her off the glass,” Eagle head coach Wendy Schuller stated in a press release. “We also need to watch (Washington native Nikki) Petticrew. As a senior, this will be her last homecoming, so I am expecting a good game out of her.”
Eastern Washington was only partially successful in its plan. The usually pivotal Hedgepeth was held to just two points and three boards in only 15 minutes of play. Petticrew, who was just named to the 2003 Verizon Academic All-District VIII first team, stepped up to lead the Vikings with 13 points and three of the team’s four assists. Jane Gowans, who is still recovering from a concussion, came off the bench to score eight points.
The Vikings are now 10-13 overall, 5-5 in BSC play and are ranked fifth in the league. The team is only one game ahead of sixth-place Northern Arizona and needs one win, or one Idaho State loss, to guarantee itself a spot in the championships next month. Even so, with four games left to play, the Vikings have already matched their win total from last season.