This past Friday night, the Portland State women’s basketball team (10-16, 4-8 in the Big Sky league) faced the Northern Arizona Lumberjacks (15-10, 8-4) at the Peter W. Stott Center. It was the first game at home for the Vikings after a three-game road trip.
The first half was all Vikings as they took the lead early and seemed to take control of the game. Thanks to a 15-2 run, Portland State was able to take a 22-15 lead into halftime.
The Vikings stumbled in the second half, turning the ball over and shooting just 25.9 percent from the field compared to 44.4 percent from Northern Arizona. Portland State wasn’t able to hold on to the lead and with just over four minutes remaining, the Lumberjacks took the lead at 44-43 and went on to win, 55-52.
Coming up huge for the Vikings was Sarah Hedgepeth, who pulled out a double-double, with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Staci Kleier came up with 13 points and eight rebounds, which were both career marks for the Portland State senior.
The Lumberjacks didn’t have much depth to their offense as they looked solely to Lynsie Blau and Jen Snitker, who had 24 and 16 points respectively. Blau and Britania Stahl were able to pull down 11 and nine rebounds respectively for Northern Arizona.
After the loss, the Vikings had no time to rest and regroup before Saturdays match-up against the Sacramento State Hornets (0-26, 0-13). It was the last regular season game for the Vikings and they made the best of it, tying an NCAA record for fewest points allowed in the first half of play.
Portland State came out of the gates fired up and ready to win. Thanks to some steals and forced turnovers, the Vikings held the Hornets to just eight points. The Vikings led 22-8 at halftime.
The Vikings exited the locker room determined to send the winless Hornets back home as quickly as possible. Portland State did allow the Hornets to score 35 points in the second half, but in turn scored 49 to end the game at 71-43, in favor of the Vikings.
Five Viking players scored in double digits. Nikki Petticrew,
Hedgepeth, Kleier, Heidi Stuart and Niki Sadowski, had 16, 15, 12, 12 and 10 respectively. Kleier had nine rebounds and Sadowski helped out on the defensive end with five steals on the night.
Not only was the win a good note to end the year on, but it also broke a five game losing streak leaving the Vikings with a record of 11-17 and 5-9.
It also happened to be senior night , and four Viking seniors were recognized after the win. Kate Lillebo (injured) joined Michelle Tuma, Kleier and Krishelle Jessee for the ceremony.
The Vikings now prepare for post-season play after clinching a playoff spot for the Big Sky tournament last week. PSU will head to Ogden, Utah next week and open the tournament against Montana on Thursday.