The Portland State women’s basketball team played one of their most complete games all season in a 78-59 win against Weber State Saturday afternoon. The Vikings gave their best effort by playing an intense, controlling game that led them to their 10th victory of the year. Currently their record stands at 10-13 overall and 4-6 against Big Sky opponents, which is good enough for a fifth-place tie with Eastern Washington in the Big Sky Conference standings going into the last two weeks of the regular season.
“I am very proud of our performance today,” said Vikings head coach Charity Elliott. “In the first half we played the best team defense that we have played all year. In this game it was all about playing as a team.”
The Vikings dominated the Wildcats in every facet of the game with exceptional play on both ends of the floor. Portland State’s swarming defense caused a total of 23 turnovers and snatched up 11 steals, leading to an impressive total of 30 points off turnovers. In the first half the Viks’ defense clamped down on Weber State’s offense, allowing only 19 points on 22 percent shooting from the field.
This commanding defensive presence complimented their offense perfectly all game long. While the Vikings were stopping the Wildcats on defense they were tough to stop on offense, shooting 51.5 percent from the floor in a second half where they scored 48 pints. The Viks were also on fire from the perimeter, hitting over 53 percent of their three-point attempts for the game. When the Vikings needed the big play they got it, whether it was a Heather Arns three or a Delaney Conway jumper.
An important reason for the Viks’ success was certainly sophomore center Brianna Thompson. Thompson had an outstanding performance and filled up the stat sheet against the Wildcats with 24 points, eight rebounds, one assist and five steals in 28 minutes of work.
“It was more of a team performance than an individual performance out there today,” Thompson said. “My easy looks came from the good team defense. We also did a really good job spacing the floor, which made the shots easier.”
Sophomore forward Delaney Conway had a breakout game against the Wildcats. She ended the game with a career-high 20 points, including four of five shooting from three-point range. Conway also grabbed seven rebounds and didn’t turn the ball over in 29 minutes of action.
“We played really unselfish tonight,” Conway said. “For us it is more of a mental thing. We knew that we had to come out and play hard today. It was also important to come out and play confident.”
Elliott was also extremely impressed with Conway’s performance on Saturday.
“She was the difference maker today,” Elliott said. “Just the momentum that she gave us was the difference maker in the game. She was the X-factor and it goes back to her confidence. We all know that she can make those shots but it takes her having confidence to make them.”
The Vikings have four games remaining, including a trip to Montana to face Montana and Montana State, before the Big Sky Conference Championship. Currently the Viks determine their own destiny due to their tie for fifth place in the conference standings with Eastern Washington. Six teams earn a berth to the conference championships and right now the Vikings are one of them. Their play in this upcoming stretch will decide whether the Vikings will be postseason bound only one season after accumulating just three wins all season.
“I am trying to focus on one game at a time right now,” Elliott said. “We have a tough road trip coming up. But if we play like we played today it doesn’t matter who we are playing, we can compete with anyone.”