OLYMPIA — There has been a common theme in The Evergreen State College women’s basketball losses this season when the margin of defeat is four points or fewer.
In all four games, including Saturday’s 76-73 Cascade Collegiate Conference defeat to Northwest, the Geoducks trailed late and fell short of completing a come-from-behind victory.
“We didn’t execute as well as we normally do,” Geoducks coach Monica Heuer said. “We were literally playing catch up.”
Although Evergreen had a 40-37 halftime lead, the Eagles (16-8 overall, 8-4 CCC) opened with a 19-7 run to put Northwest up 56-47 – its largest lead of the game.
But senior Sammi Clark, who finished with a game-high 26 points on 8-of-16 shooting, kept the Geoducks (10-9, 6-6) in it. Down the stretch, she scored seven of the team’s nine points in a 2-minute stretch, and her bucket with 1:37 to go made it 69-all.
Brittany Gray, who ranks sixth in scoring (14.6) and fourth in rebounding (8.8) in the CCC, finished with eight points on 4-for-10 shooting with six rebounds.
Gone is Evergreen’s four-game winning streak in CCC play, the longest in school history. With six games remaining, including four on the road starting with a trip to Oregon Tech and Southern Oregon next weekend, a top-four finish in the conference standings is still within reach. Eight teams made the conference tournament, and the top four host first-round games. Evergreen is just 21/2 games back of College of Idaho for fourth place.
Saint Martin’s 59, Western Oregon 56: The Saints overcame a 29.8 percent (17 of 57) shooting performance, including 2-of-15 from 3-point range, to snap a three-game losing streak with a Great Northwest Athletic Conference win in Monmouth, Ore.
Brooke Paulson hit two free throws with 11 seconds remaining; eight of her 11 points came from the free-throw line. As a team, SMU hit 23 of 32 free throws.
Chelsea Haskey led the Saints (12-7 overall, 6-4 GNAC) with 12 points.
Northwest 83, Evergreen 74: The Eagles shot 51 percent and held off Evergreen to prevent the Geoducks (3-16 overall, 2-10 CCC) from extending their winning streak to two games.
Marc Taylor’s bucket with 6:43 to go cut the Geoducks’ deficit to 67-63, but Northwest used a 7-0 run to gain its first double-digit lead of the second half at 74-63 with 4:03 remaining.
All of Evergreen’s starters finished in double figures, led by Taylor’s 17 points and 10 rebounds. Frankie Johnson added 15 points.
Saint Martin’s 83, Montana State-Billings 70: Senior guard Evan Coulter erupted for a career-high 35 points in 38 minutes on 10-for-14 shooting to help the Saints snap their three-game losing skid with a GNAC win in Billings, Mont.
Saint Martin’s (7-12, 4-7 GNAC) shot 43 percent, including 11 3-pointers with five coming from Coulter. Saint Martin’s also was 26-for-35 from the free-throw line; Coulter was 10-for-11. Ryan Rogers chipped in with 13 points and 11 rebounds.Meg Wochnick: 360-754-5473 firstname.lastname@example.org theolympian.com/southsoundsports @MegWochnick