Spotless on the road

More than two months ago the women’s basketball team suffered an embarrassing defeat at Gonzaga.

More than two months ago the women’s basketball team suffered an embarrassing defeat at Gonzaga. The loss was Portland State’s third in four games and head coach Sherri Murrell’s squad seemed likely for another up-and-down season filled with success at home and failure on the road.

But since that point the Vikings have been a force to be reckoned with, losing just one road game, a non-conference matchup at UC Santa Barbara. Portland State continued their winning ways away from home last night with an 89-71 victory at Northern Colorado.

The victory improved Portland State’s overall record to 19-7 and gave Murrell’s squad their 12th win in Big Sky play. With just three games remaining in the regular season, the Vikings seem poised for the best finish in school history and have already claimed at least a top-two finish in the Big Sky.

The familiar faces were at it again for Portland State as senior Kelsey Kahle had 26 points and filled up the stat sheet to limit the Bears’ offensive productivity. Junior point guard Claire Faucher had 16 points and senior guard Katia Hadj-Hamou hit four of five three-pointers to round out the scoring for Portland State.

Behind a combined 14 assists and some sharp shooting from Hadj-Hamou, Faucher and freshman guard Eryn Jones, who came off the bench, Portland State lit up the Northern Colorado defense by shooting 55 percent from the field and 50 percent beyond the arc.

The Vikings also forced 18 Bears’ turnovers and controlled the rebounding battle, 36-28. Northern Colorado shot just 38 percent from the field and hit just one of 10 three-point attempts.

The Bears relied on the three-player combination of Lara Merritt, Kate Kevorken and Courtney Stoermer for 54 of their 71 points on the night as they fell to 11-14 overall and 4-7 in the Big Sky.

The win keeps the Vikings atop the Big Sky as the squad holds a slim half-game margin over Montana in the standings.

Portland State will take the court next against Eastern Washington on Feb. 29.