Women’s basketball set to take on Wildcats

Portland state women’s basketball began the regular season in a manner uncharacteristic of the reigning Big Sky Tournament Champions.

Portland state women’s basketball began the regular season in a manner uncharacteristic of the reigning Big Sky Tournament Champions. The Viks suffered back-to-back losses, most recently falling to Northern Colorado on Thursday.

The Vikings (7-8, 0-2 Big Sky) are now ready to show the conference their true ability when they travel to Weber State this Thursday.

At Northern Colorado on Thursday, the Bears excelled at the inside baskets and sent the Vikings packing, 72-60. The Vikings pulled within just three points with 13:29 left in the second half off a pair of free throws by junior forward Stephanie Egwuatu, but the Bears went on a 12-6 run to win the game.

Senior forward Kelli Valentine shot a career high 81.8 percent shooting, with her team-leading 22 points. The senior also put up a three-pointer late in the first half to halt Northern Colorado’s 14-point lead—their biggest of the night.

Junior guard Eyrn Jones said the team was disappointed with the performance against Northern Colorado, but that they plan to use the game as a learning experience for the next time the two teams match up.

“Obviously, we lost these last two games and now our goal is focusing on ourselves and just going out and playing basketball,” Jones said.

Before yet another road trip for the Vikings, the team took on Idaho State at home last night. The results of that game were not available as of press time.

On Thursday, the Vikings will hit the road again, this time against Weber State. Last season, Portland State beat the Wildcats in both conference contests. In the first meeting, the Viks had four players in double-digit points, while the wildcats had only three. PSU took the victory 87-62.

In the second match-up, of the team’s last season, the Wildcats fought until the very end. Weber State hit a three-point shot with seconds on the clock, which put them down by only one. But in the end, the Viks took home the victory after two free throws made the score 65-62.

In order to beat the Wildcats this season, Jones said the Vikings need to get back to the way they performed in the preseason. The Vikings were 7-6 prior to the conference losses, including a two-point win against cross-town rival Portland, 64-62.

It was hot shooting both outside the paint and from the free-throw line that led the Viks offensively to their preseason success. Jones is the current leader for the Viks for three-point shooting. She is ranked fourth all-time for PSU with 39.3 percent.

From the line, it is sophomore guard Courtney VanBrocklin and Jones that lead the Vikings. Both players are the only Viks to be nationally ranked in free throws—VanBrocklin ranks No. 36, and Jones sits at No. 44. Unfortunately, the team as a whole is ranked seventh in conference from the free throw line.

On defense, Portland State is lighting up the boards in blocked shots. The Viks have three players in the conference rankings for blocked shots per game, more than any other team in the league. Senior center Courtney Cremer is seventh with 1.1, junior forward Shauneice Samms is ninth also with 1.1, and junior forward Katy Wade rounds out the trifecta in the No. 12 spot with a 0.9 average.

The Viks hope to turn their game around against Weber State. The Wildcats (4-10, 0-2 Big Sky) are in a similar boat as the Vikings, opening their conference play with two losses. They played conference leader Montana State on Monday, but results were not ready as of press time.

The Wildcats fell to Montana on Saturday night, 57-52. Montana dominated the court for much of the game, but the home team made a comeback. With just about a minute left on the clock, Weber State’s sophomore guard Megan Patterson threw up a three to tie the game at 49-all. Unfortunately for the Wildcats, the Lady Griz had yet another surge, and took the game 57-52.

Patterson led the way for the Wildcats on offense with 19 points. Sophomore forward Amanda Hughes also pitched in 13 and had a career-high six steals.

Patterson is a threat outside the paint. She is currently second for Weber State in three-point field-goal percentages with .400. The guard is behind senior forward Caitlin Anderson who leads Weber State with .500.

Like the Vikings, the Wildcats are ready to get back on the court and put the early conference games behind them. The game is slated for a 6 p.m. tipoff in Ogden, Utah. Streaming video and live stats can be found through goviks.com. ?