SPU men shock No. 2 WWU at GNAC championship, 72-70

mwochnick@theolympian.comMarch 10, 2013 

LACEY — Jobi Wall’s 3-pointer with .3 seconds remaining gave No. 3-ranked Seattle Pacific a 72-70 victory over defending national champion and second-ranked Western Washington in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament men’s championship game Saturday night at Saint Martin’s Marcus Pavilion.

As tournament champions, the Falcons (25-3) are the No. 1 seed at next weekend’s Division II West Regional. The rest of the teams and locations for the men’s and women’s regional will be announced at 7 p.m. today.

Wall, a 48 percent 3-point shooter on the season, had the ball initially stripped by Western’s Anye Turner, a Black Hills High School graduate, but Wall recovered in time to get the

winning 28-footer off after the Falcons drove the length of the court for the final shot.

Point guard David Downs, named the tournament’s MVP, led the way for Seattle Pacific with 20 points, including 11-of-14 free-throw shooting. His two free throws with 15.8 seconds sliced a three-point deficit to 70-69.

Western (27-2) had a chance to up its lead to three in the finals seconds, but Richard Woodworth missed both free throws.

Cory Hutsen chipped in 16 points for the Falcons, and Wall added 10. Paul Jones led WWU with 20 points – 14 in the second half – and John Allen, the GNAC’s regular-season player of the year, added 19.

WOMEN’S CHAMPIONSHIP GAME

Western Washington 60, Simon Fraser 40: Vikings coach Carmen Dolfo didn’t hesitate to rank his team’s defensive performance against the Clan at No. 1 for the season.

“We’re taking it … because of the time,” said Dolfo, whose team earned the conference’s automatic berth to next week’s NCAA Division II West Regional. “We felt really good about it. We kept it through the game, and to see a 40-minute defensive game was really fun.”

The No. 6-ranked Vikings (25-3) split the regular-season series with the No. 10-ranked Clan from Burnaby, B.C. While Western’s focus was to limit Simon Fraser senior forward Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe’s touches, another area of concern was the Clan’s outside shooting. WWU put the clamps down there, holding SFU to 2-for-11 shooting from 3-point range.

Raincock-Ekunwe, the GNAC’s player of the year, was held to eight shots and finished with a team-best 12 points and a game-best 14 rebounds. She made two field goals but was 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.

With Western ahead 27-16 at halftime, the Clan (23-5) cut the deficit to 33-24 only to have the Vikings go on an 8-0 run – including back-to-back baskets by Elma High School graduate Katie Colard – that helped push their lead to 41-26 after a steal and basket by Trishi Williams with 13:58 to play in the game.

Williams, the tournament MVP, had a game-high 16 points, five assists and six steals – the latter breaking the single-game tournament record of five.

“She answered on both ends,” Dolfo said of Williams.

Western ranked second in the regular season in scoring defense at 59.3 points a game, and the 40 points given up was a season-best. The Vikings held the Clan to 27 percent shooting (13 of 48), and Raincock-Ekunwe was the only SFU player in double figures.

“To do it against Simon Fraser in the championship game is pretty big,” Williams said. “We knew we had to come out and pressure, and that’s what we’ve worked on all year.”

Center Britt Harris had nine points and eight rebounds for WWU, and Sydney Donaldson and Sarah Hill added eight points apiece.

Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 mwochnick@theolympian.com theolympian.com/southsoundsports @megwochnick

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