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WWU succumbs to second-half MSUB comeback in road loss

Viking fall to Yellowjackets, 48-46, on Kola Bad Bear's game-winning layup

Western Washington University's Stephanie Peterson leans back for a one-handed shot as a defender leaps to try and block the shot.
Western Washington University's Stephanie Peterson leans back for a one-handed shot Jan. 11 during a game against Central Washington University at Carver Gym. (Andy Bronson/Cascadia Daily News)
By Connor J. Benintendi Sports Editor

Despite leading by 13 with around nine minutes left in the third quarter, Western Washington University women’s basketball couldn’t stop Montana State Billings’ impressive second-half comeback in a low-scoring 48-46 road loss to the Yellowjackets on Thursday, Feb. 22.

MSUB senior forward Kola Bad Bear pulled down a teammate’s missed 3-pointer with about two seconds left in the game, tied 46-46, before sinking a layup with 1.4 seconds remaining — the would-be game-winner after the Vikings were unable to answer on their final possession.

Bad Bear, tied for sixth in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference with 16.8 points per game (alongside Western senior Brooke Walling), finished with 11 points, four rebounds and two blocks.

Western (20-5, 13-3 GNAC) missed an opportunity to take possession of first place in the league standings after beating MSUB (23-4, 14-1 GNAC) earlier in the season, 76-68, on Jan. 27.

Senior guard Stephanie Peterson led the Vikings with a game-high 18 points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. Sophomore guard Mason Oberg had 11 points and two assists. Walling was held in check by Bad Bear and the MSUB defense, scoring eight points on 4-for-14 shooting with eight rebounds and two blocks.

The Yellowjackets were led by junior forward Dyauni Boyce’s 16 points, six rebounds and two steals. Boyce was 12 for 13 from the free-throw line, while just 2 for 10 from the field.

Western won the rebound battle and held MSUB to 28.8% shooting (11.1% from 3-point range) but still wasn’t able to hold off a second-half push by the Yellowjackets. The difference in the game was Western’s 22 turnovers to MSUB’s 12, and the Yellowjackets also had 12 more free-throw attempts (16 for 18).

Luckily for the Vikings, they have already clinched a spot in the upcoming GNAC Championships, which run March 7–9 in Ellensburg on Central Washington University’s campus. Western’s next game will be on the road at Seattle Pacific (10-14, 7-7 GNAC) at 4:15 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 24.

Connor J. Benintendi is CDN’s sports editor; reach him at; 360-922-3090 ext. 104.

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