Split costs women Big Sky title

The Portland State women’s basketball team needed a sweep to earn a Big Sky championship. Instead, the Vikings came up with a split.

The Portland State women’s basketball team needed a sweep to earn a Big Sky championship. Instead, the Vikings came up with a split.

Friday night ended in a 51–63 loss to Idaho State, but Saturday night was a different story, as Portland State pulled off a 65–62 win over Weber State. The split sends the Viks into third place, but they are still in contention for a second-place finish to the Big Sky regular season.

On Friday, Idaho State (14–14, 9–6 Big Sky) opened the game with the first six points, and from there the score favored the Bengals for the entire game. The Viks (15–13, 9–6 Big Sky) had a difficult time finding the net, and went just 20 of 65 from the floor—the worst shooting the team has seen in 14 games.  

Idaho State forward Ashleigh Vella opened the game with a basket, followed by two more from forward Oano Iacovita. It wasn’t until an assist by Vikings guard Lexi Bishop to center Erin Yankus at 4:34 into play that PSU was able to put points on the board.

A layup by Iacovita with 5:44 remaining in the first half would put the Bengals up by nine points, their largest lead in the half. But the Vikings went on a run before the break, and got back into the game with a three-pointer by senior guard Claire Faucher to send them into the locker room down by only four, at 31–27.

The Vikings again tried to hold off the Bengals in the second half, keeping their opponents at bay until eight minutes of play remained, when the Bengals pulled ahead by seven.

Portland State pulled back Idaho State’s lead to just two points with 4:57 left, but to no avail. The Bengals would stretch the lead out to 14 points with nine seconds remaining, and a shot by freshman guard Nichole Jackson gave PSU their last two points to end the game 51–63.

Idaho State’s Iacovita led the Bengals with 22 points and 12 rebounds, and behind her two other Bengals posted double–digits. Guard Andrea Videbeck chalked 17 and Vella put up 10 of her own.  

The Vikings got most of their points from sophomore forward Eryn Jones who made 19 and went 7 for 19 from the floor. Faucher chipped in 10 with eight rebounds, falling just shy of a double-double.

After Friday’s loss, the Vikings headed into Saturday night needing a win over Weber State (9–19, 3–12 Big Sky).

The Wildcats opened the game with a layup from their leading scorer, guard Tonya Schnibbe, and would grab a quick lead until a shot from above the arc by PSU’s sophomore guard Eryn Jones tied the score at 9–9 about four minutes in. Junior forward Kate DePaepe then broke the tie with a long three of her own to give the Viks their first lead of the game.

Jones hit two more three-pointers and chalked 15 first-half points, and at the break the Vikings led 32–29.

The second half opened much like the first. Schnibbe hit a layup in the first minute, to put the Wildcats down by only one, and she would then hit another to return the lead to Weber State’s favor, 38–37, at four minutes into the half.

What started as a back-and-forth half saw the Vikings pull ahead, 40–38, from a three-pointer by junior guard-forward Kelly Marchant. Portland State increased the lead with another three from Marchant, followed by a layup by Yankus, and at just under eight minutes into the half, Jones would hit back-to-back threes leaving the Viks ahead, 48–38. 

PSU continued to take control and a shot from above the arc by Faucher put them ahead, 51–38, but Weber State fought back and,  after a three-point shot by Megan Patterson, came within just one point of the Vikings with 13 seconds left.

The Viks held off Weber State’s late-game charge and after Marchant went 2 for 2 on free throws, they put the final score, 65–62.

Jones set a career high 21 points in the game, and Marchant also tracked double digits with 15 points—13 of which came in the second half. Behind Marchant, DePaepe chalked 11.

Friday’s loss, combined with top-ranked Eastern Washington’s loss to Idaho State, places the Vikings in their third place position—currently behind Sacramento State and tied with Idaho State. The Vikings will go into postseason action, but need a win against Eastern Washington next weekend for a second-place finish in conference play.

The next game, and the last of regular season, is slated for 2:05 p.m. Saturday at Eastern Washington.

Scores by period
Friday                 1st    2nd    Total
Portland State      27     24      51
Idaho State          31      32     63 ?

Portland State     32     33       65
Weber State        29     33       62