Despite losing to the Idaho State Bengals Saturday night, the Portland State women’s basketball team was able to obtain a playoff spot.
Because the Bengals dropped a game on Friday to the Eastern Washington Eagles, the Vikings will most likely narrowly enter the Big Sky tournament, which is slated to start March 7, as a six seed.
The first half started out close, but the Bengals made a run at the midway point to put the game out of reach for Portland State. The Vikings were scoreless for over six minutes, but were able to cut Idaho State’s lead and walked off the court at halftime trailing 38-23.
In the second half, Portland State continued to fight, but the defending Big Sky champion Bengals proved to be too much. The closest the Vikings got was within 10 points, as Idaho State captured an 84-65 victory, thanks in part to a 22-8 run for the Bengals at the end of the period.
Poor shooting from the Vikings gave Idaho State an edge as Portland State was out-shot in the first half, 30 percent to 54.8 percent. This, along with 15 turnovers in the first half alone, put the Vikings in a hole that they weren’t able to crawl out of.
On the bright side, Nikki Petticrew and Sarah Hedgepeth came up big for the Vikings, scoring 17 and 11 respectively. Hedgepeth also grabbed nine rebounds along with Staci Kleier who came down with seven.
Point guard Michelle Theuson got her first career start for the Vikings and didn’t disappoint. She and Heidi Stuart each had nine points on the night and Theuson also came up with four assists.
The Bengals’ Ashley Toner had a huge game with 36 points, and Janae Griffin added 15 points of her own.
Even with the loss, the Vikings are happy that they have earned a spot in the Big Sky tournament and now will look ahead to this upcoming weekend when they will face Northern Arizona and Sacramento State at the Peter W. Stott Center.
Friday night, the Vikings take on Northern Arizona, who beat the Vikings in their last meeting, at 7 p.m. On Saturday night, also at 7 p.m., the Vikings will host Sacramento State, whom the Vikings easily beat in their last confrontation.