ELLENSBURG, Wash. – The Central Washington women’s basketball team (7-1, 2-0 GNAC) stayed undefeated in conference action Saturday night with a convincing 74-54 victory over the visiting Saint Martin’s Saints (3-6, 0-2 GNAC) at Ellensburg High School.
QUOTE FROM HEAD COACH RANDI RICHARDSON-THORNLEY
“I’m happy with how we competed in the first half. We showed intensity and consistency defensively and were able to rebound well out of it. Offensively I liked the pace we played with in the first half and how we shared the ball. However, the next step is to do all those things consistently for 40 minutes.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Samantha Bowman, Asher Cai, and Valerie “Sunshine” Huerta were a 1-2-3 punch for the Wildcats all night long. The night started with a layup by Bowman followed by quick three by Cai to put CWU up 5-0. Following a pair of free throws by SMU Cai sizzled another three through the net making the score 8-2 and forcing the Saints into a timeout. Following the timeout, the Saints pulled within four 10-6, but back-to-back threes by Malia Smith set the ‘Cats up to cruise, up 16-6. CWU would shutout the Saints the rest of the way through the first quarter for a 21-6 lead.
CWU would outscore Saint Martin’s 23-10 in the second quarter as Sunshine burst onto the scene drilling a three-pointer to open the quarter. Ashley Schow would get in on the action in the second quarter while Bowman continued to build her double-double total on the season, this time before halftime. Saint Martin’s looked for a while they would get shutout the second quarter trailing 31-6 with 4:04 left, but a jumper put the Saints back on the board. Both teams would swap baskets for the rest of the quarter as the Wildcats maintained a 44-16 lead.
Saint Martin’s came out of halftime with a vengeance. They were a lot more aggressive as they would go on to outscore CWU in the third quarter. Claire Heitschmidt proved to be pivotal providing a huge defensive boost and a solid offensive performance with the absence of Bowman with foul trouble. However, Cai found a niche with pull up jumpers while Sunshine knocked down more threes to help the Wildcats maintain a 60-38 lead going into the fourth quarter.
Throughout the entirety of the fourth quarter both teams contained the other going blow for blow. Anytime any momentum would swing towards the Saints the Wildcats would respond with a basket helping to deflate any thought of a comeback, as CWU paced to the 74-54 victory.
CWU held SMU to 27.9 percent from the field and 19 percent from three-point land. In comparison the ‘Cats shot 42.2 percent from the field and 34.6 percent for three-pointers. The Wildcats outrebounded the Saints 52-36. Sunshine led all scores with 21, while Cai finished with 18 and Bowman finished with 17 to go with her 15 rebounds. CWU also dished out 18 assists.
The Wildcats will start with a pair of nonconference games in a string of games before Christmas. The Lincoln Oaklanders from California will head to Washington on Friday Dec. 9th with tipoff set for 5 p.m. down on the campus of Yakima Valley Community College. CWU will head back up to Ellensburg when they welcome the Northwest Eagles on Saturday Dec. 10th to Ellensburg High School with tip off set for 4:00 p.m.
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