Jen Schooler elected to go with an 80s television icon when describing the play of senior post Sadee Jones.
“She’s our MacGyver,” said Schooler, the first-year women’s basketball coach at The Evergreen State College. “Give her a piece of gum and a nail and she’ll defuse a bomb. She can do anything. If she can’t score, she will find other areas to contribute. She finds a way.”
Jones shook off a poor first-half shooting effort to score 12 points and haul down a game-high 16 rebounds as the Geoducks notched their first Cascade Collegiate Conference victory this season with a 65-52 win over visiting Northwest Christian on Saturday.
Jones was one of four Evergreen players to score in double figures. Brittany Gray led the Geoducks with 13 points, while Uriah Thomas came off the bench to add 12 and LaNiecia Weatherspoon chipped in 10.
Evergreen, which has won three out of its last four, improved to 7-4 overall and 1-3 in conference play.
“Tonight it was an entire team effort,” said Schooler, whose roster only features eight players. “Everyone came to play. Gray and Jones are the only players we have who had big minutes last year. Everyone else is new and we are still defining our roles, but we’re getting there.”
Jones’ role shifted from offensive threat to rebounding and providing tough interior defense after she missed nine of her 10 field goal attempts in the first half.
After missing her first shot in the second half, Jones was asked by Schooler to get some confidence by having success in other areas of the game.
Jones answered by controlling the glass, pulling down 10 rebounds in the second half to power Evergreen to a 45-27 rebounding edge over the Beacons (4-7, 0-3). She single-handedly outrebounded Northwest Christian on the offensive glass, finishing the game with nine offensive boards to the Beacons’ eight.
“I mean this in the nicest possible way, but she’s a monster,” Schooler said. “She’s 5-foot-6 on a good day and we still throw her out there into the paint and ask a lot out of her. She just goes out there and does it. She doesn’t know she’s 5-6. She’s the toughest, gutsiest player I’ve coached.”
Jones finished 4 of 15 from the field. Her nine offensive rebounds alone would have been a game-high.
“I think a lot of those rebounds were because I missed my bunnies,” Jones said. “Tough night in terms of shooting, but when that happens you just try to be successful elsewhere.”
Teammate Thomas was the exact opposite, making 6 of 7 shots during her 18 minutes of play.
“What we saw tonight was the real Uriah,” Schooler said. “She can do that every game. It’s really just up to her.”
Back-to-back buckets by Thomas gave the Geoducks their largest lead of the contest at 49-32 with 10 minutes to play.
The Beacons pulled with 10 points at 59-48 with 21/2 minutes remaining in the game, but could never get the deficit under double digits.
Thomas and Jones paced a balanced Evergreen offense in the first half, both scoring six points for the Geoducks, who led by as many as 12 before taking a 29-21 cushion into the locker room.
Hannah Frederick scored a team-high 13 points for Northwest Christian, which also received 12 points from Andrea Gloss.
Evergreen gets an extended holiday break, as they do not return to the court until Jan. 3 when they host Northwest.
Northwest Christian 83, Evergreen 68: The Beacons shot 56 percent from the field, getting 18 points from Jay Mayernik and 16 from Kyle Ferreira, to keep the Geoducks winless in Cascade Conference play.
River Ridge graduate Donald Terry scored 13 points for Evergreen, which lost for the sixth time in its last seven games. The Geoducks (3-8, 0-4) also received 11 points from Alex Hernandez.
The Beacons (9-3, 2-1) shot 63 percent (17 of 27) in the first half to grab a 42-27 lead at the intermission.