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NAMPA, Idaho — Central Washington needed something special to climb out of a 12-point halftime hole Friday night against last year’s No. 1 seed in the West Region of the NCAA Division II tournament.
The Wildcats responded by putting together a near-flawless third quarter, then pulled away in the fourth for an 84-63 win over Cal State East Bay to open the season. GNAC Player of the Year Samantha Bowman scored 12 of her 26 points in a 36-point third quarter for Central and also grabbed a game-high 17 rebounds.
“I think Sam knew he had to step up to give our team some confidence,” coach Randi Richardson-Thornley said. “That’s an all-league senior player stepping up and doing what she had to do.”
Freshman Asher Cai opened the Wildcats’ scoring barrage after halftime with a 3-pointer and scored 12 of her 16 points in the second half. Central missed just two of 13 shots from the field during the third quarter and also made 11 of 12 free throws.
Sunshine Huerta hit two free throws to give Central their first lead of the game with 3:20 left in the third quarter on her way to scoring 17 points and the sophomore also dished out a team-high five assists. Guard Tori Maeda added 11 points on 2-for-3 shooting from beyond the arc.
“She was calm, calm and collected tonight,” Richardson-Thornley said. “She was just that calm presence offensively and she made some big shots for us as well.”
Richardson-Thornley said Central’s defense sparked his offensive explosion when the Wildcats held CSUEB to under 20% from the field in the second half. CWU will look to stay warm on Saturday against Stanislaus State with kickoff scheduled for 1:30 pm at Northwest Nazarene.
DOWNTOWN WASHINGTON— Samantha Bowman 26, Sunshine Huerta 17, Asher Cai 16, Tori Maeda 11, Schow 2, Bush 5, Heitschmidt 4, Smith 3, Coulter-Fa’amafu 0. Totals 26-57 24-31 84.
EAST BAY OF CAL STATE — Delia Moore 17, Jaela Richardson 17, Payton Sterk 13, Campbell 0, Linzie 0, Washington 3, K. Valencia 2, Bacci 2, Cooper 2, Rosemon 1, L. Valencia 0, Dean 0. Totals 22-73 10-13 63.
DHW 8 13 36 27 – 84
CSEB 12 21 19 11 — 63
Center men fall short in first gameMONMOUTH, Ore. — The Washington center couldn’t get past icy outside shooting in a 77-57 season-opening loss to Cal State Monterey Bay on Friday night.
The Wildcats made just one 3-for-20 attempt and faded midway through the second half as CSUMB went on a 10-0 run. Central’s 18 turnovers proved costly as he tried to rally from a 10-point halftime deficit.
“The team kept fighting and cut (the deficit) to six twice in the second half to get some momentum,” coach Brandon Rinta said. “We need to be able to shoot and take better care of basketball in the future.”
A 10-0 run by the Otters extended their lead to 56-40 and Central never recovered. Matt Poquette scored a team-high 12 points for the Wildcats, who return to action tomorrow against No. 9 Cal State Bernardino in Western Oregon.
DOWNTOWN WASHINGTON— Matt Poquette 12, Hector 9, Banks 7, Gennett 2, Kamalu-Vargas 2, McNeil 9, Taylor 6, Brown III 4, Brizee 4, Pepper 2, Ainslie 0, Spivey 0. Totals 20-62 16-20 57.
MONTEREY BAY QUALITY STATUS — Joe Wall 22, Jailen Nelson 12, Levi Frankland 10, Schilling 4, Johnston 2, Jordan Archie 11, Britton 7, Johnson 7, Williams 2, Adams 0. Totals 30-63 7-9 77.
Halftime: 33-23 CSUMB.