Western Washington University women’s basketball continued its defensive dominance to start the season with an 80-44 win against Hawaii Pacific during the Lynda Goodrich Classic on Saturday, Nov. 25 at Carver Gymnasium.
The Vikings (5-1), whose lone loss this season is to No. 22 nationally ranked Cal State San Marcos on Nov. 17, rebounded by beating No. 12 Azusa Pacific on Nov. 18 and are now humming with their third straight win after Saturday’s victory.
The Vikings put together another defensive showcase at the expense of the Sharks (1-4), and even garnered a season-high points total (80) in the win with balanced scoring. All 11 players who logged minutes scored.
Senior center Brooke Walling did a little bit of everything for the Vikings with a game-high 16 points, to go with four rebounds, three assists, three steals and three blocks. Lynden Christian alum Riley Dykstra added 13 points and six rebounds, while Steph Peterson had nine points and six assists.
The Sharks were in deep water quickly as Western opened with a 22-3 run and finished the first quarter up 22-5. The Vikings’ defense allowed just two field goals in the first 10 minutes.
In the second quarter, it was more of the same as the Vikings lead shot up to 34-7, forcing a frustrating timeout by the Sharks’ coach.
Junior Aspen Garrison joined in the fun, scoring six points before the half, helping give the Vikings a 48-17 lead going into the break. The Vikings distributed the ball well with 14 first-half assists.
“Friday night, we were a little stagnant moving the ball,” Western head coach Carmen Dolfo said. “Today, we did a really good job moving the ball and finding the open person.”
The Vikings tried out a 1-2-2 defense to start the second half and made a couple of stops in a row, but the dominance took a slight detour after a pair of turnovers had Dolfo subbing off all five of her starters. The second unit got the Vikings back on track.
“It was really great to see them have more of a chance and do a really good job,” Dolfo said about the second unit. The bench finished with 30 total points.
Freshman KK Bass had nine points off the bench and Dolfo was really impressed with her showing. Lynden Christian alum Demi Dykstra finished with seven points.
The Vikings starters got back in rhythm to start the fourth quarter and redshirt freshman Ellee Brockman capped off the win with two free throws.
The Vikings; defense held the Sharks to a season-low 20.7% shooting, and Western has now held its opponents to under 26% shooting in four out of its six games so far. They also forced 15 turnovers and blocked nine shots on Saturday.
“Our team takes a lot of pride in defense, and they know defense gets our offense going,” Dolfo said.
The Vikings will look to stay hot when they host Biola University at 7 p.m. Thursday, Nov 30.