Central pulls away in second half to down women’s basketball

Photo by Paul McCarthy
Photo by Paul McCarthy

Jamie Foland

Central Washington outscored Alaska 25-5 over the last 10 minutes to pull away for a 69-49 Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s basketball victory Thursday night at the Patty Center.

Jessica VanDyke scored a game-high 21 points for the Wildcats (7-7, 2-4 GNAC) while Jasmine Parker posted a double-double with 11 points and a game-best 17 rebounds, eight of which came off the offensive glass. She also had a game-high five steals. Daisy Burke and Courtney Johnson both chipped in 12 points apiece.

Central shot 39 percent (22-56 FG) for the game while limiting the Nanooks (2-12, 0-6 GNAC) to 33 percent (22-67 FG) shooting. The Wildcats controlled the glass 49-36 and had quite the production off the bench, with 30 points coming from reserves. The Nanooks struggled from outside range, making just three treys with a 15 percent (3-20 3PT) success rate.

Alaska was paced  by senior guard Taylor Altenburg (Elko, Nev./Criminal justice) and sophomore guard Benissa Bulaya (Sacramento, Calif./Business administration) with 11 points and three steals each while junior forward Jacqueline Lovato (Gunnison, Colo./Business administration) had a solid stat line with seven points, eight boards and two steals.

The ‘Nooks surged out to an early 15-5 lead less than eight minutes into the game forcing Central to take a timeout. The Wildcats didn’t trail for long, however. Down 18-9, the visitors scored eight in a row to trim the deficit to one at 18-17 and later squared the game at 23 apiece with 3:54 to go until halftime. CWU led 27-26 at the break.

The two teams virtually went bucket for bucket in the second half with neither squad leading more than two points in the opening 10 minutes of the stanza. A free throw by Johnson with 9:51 broke a 44-44 tie and only allowed Alaska to produce two field goals and one free throw the rest of the way.

The Nanooks return to action Saturday at 5:15 p.m. when they face Northwest Nazarene, which defeated Alaska Anchorage 76-49 earlier Thursday at UAA.