Women’s basketball falls to ninth-ranked Simon Fraser

Photo by Paul McCarthy
Photo by Paul McCarthy

Jamie Foland

Despite committing 31 turnovers, No. 9 Simon Fraser used a double-double by Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe to down Alaska 71-56 in Great Northwest Athletic Conference women’s basketball on Thursday night at the Patty Center.

Raincock-Ekunwe poured in a game-high 23 points on 10 of 12 shooting to go with 16 rebounds as the Clan (10-1, 3-0 GNAC) won their seventh straight game. Kristina Collins had 14 points and seven boards and Erin Chambers totaled 12 points and four assists while Chelsea Reist added 10 points.

SFU shot 40 percent (25-62 FG) for the game and better than 72 percent (13-18 FT) from the free throw line and held Alaska to just 31 percent (20-64 FG) shooting for the night. The Nanooks (2-8, 0-2 GNAC) also struggled from beyond the arc, connecting on just 19 percent (3-16 3PT) of their attempts and missed eight free throws to finish with a 62 percent (13-21 FT) success rate from the line. The Nanooks did collect 21 steals, to tie a season high, but turned the ball over 23 times themselves. The Clan controlled the glass 51-36 and had 14 assists to Alaska’s nine.

Senior forward Jacqueline Lovato (Gunnison, Colo./Business administration) led the ‘Nooks with team-bests of 15 points and eight rebounds. Sophomore guard Benissa Bulaya (Sacramento, Calif./Business administration) scored 13 points to go with four assists and two steals while senior guard Taylor Altenburg (Elko, Nev./Criminal justice) had nine points, seven boards and a career-high five steals.

The Clan never trailed in this one as they opened the game with the first seven points. Leading 10-7, SFU reeled off eight in a row to grab an 18-7 advantage with 11:58 to go in the first. Later in the frame, Simon Fraser used an 11-0 run and held the Nanooks scoreless for nearly five minutes to build a 35-14 lead. The visitors, which shot just shy of 56 percent for the half, took a 43-20 lead into the locker room.

Alaska played much better defensively in the second, outscoring the nationally-ranked Clan 36-28 over the final 20 minutes. The Nanooks scored 18 points off 14 SFU turnovers and held the Clan to just 29 percent (10-35 FG) from the floor in the period. Unfortunately, SFU built a sizeable lead in the first half and Alaska never drew closer than 13 points at any point of the second.

The Nanooks return to the court Saturday at 7 p.m. when they entertain No. 20 Western Washington at the Patty Center. Earlier Thursday, the Vikings (9-2, 3-0 GNAC) defeated Alaska Anchorage 70-60 at UAA.