Western Washington used a balanced attack and solid rebounding in the final 20 minutes to notch an 87-59 Great Northwest Athletic Conference victory against Alaska on Saturday night at the Patty Center.
The Vikings (10-2, 4-0 GNAC) remained unbeaten in league play while the Nanooks (2-9, 0-3 GNAC) fell for the second straight game.
Kayla Bernson was a force down low as she scored a game-high 16 points to go with nine rebounds and four blocks. Sarah Hill contributed 14 points and nine boards to tie Bernson for game-high honors and dished out four assists while Trishi Williams had 13 points, seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.
WWU shot 43 percent (30-70 FG) for the game and more impressively, hit seven threes to finish 47 percent (7-15) from long range. The Vikings controlled the glass 48-36 and forced the Nanooks into 24 turnovers, 12 by way of steals, resulting in 24 WWU points. The visitors’ reserves also saw plenty of action, as they accounted for 43 of the team’s 87 points.
Junior forward Jacqueline Lovato (Gunnison, Colo./Business administration) paced Alaska with a team-best 14 points after draining four three pointers and also tied Bernson and Hill for a game-best nine rebounds. Sophomore guard Kelly Logue (Fair Oaks, Calif./Communication) had 13 points and five assists while senior guard Taylor Altenburg (Elko, Nev./Criminal justice) added nine points, six boards and two blocks.
The Nanooks shot 34 percent (21-61 FG) from the floor and struggled from the charity stripe, with a 59 percent success rate (10-17 FT). The Vikings, on the other hand, were sharp from the line, making 91 percent (20-22 FT) of their tries. Alaska had just 10 steals, after creating 21 two nights ago against Simon Fraser.
After Alaska took a 2-0 lead to open the contest, Western Washington took over, using an 18-2 run in just 3:39 to lead by 14. The Nanooks fought back with an 8-0 run to climb back to within six but they went cold from the field and Western outscored Alaska 17-6 to hold a comfortable 35-18 lead with 6:27 to go. A three pointer by Brandi Benner in the closing seconds of the half gave the Vikings their largest lead to that point at 46-28 heading into halftime.
Trailing 58-38, the Nanooks scored eight of 10 to close to within 60-46 but that would be as close as they would get. WWU led by as many 32 down the stretch en route to their fourth win in a row.
Alaska hits the road next week as they take on Seattle Pacific on Thursday at 6 p.m. (AKST) and Montana State Billings on Saturday at 5 p.m. (AKST).