Falcons beat Billings, honor three seniors

On Saturday, the Seattle Pacific University women’s basketball team got a huge win in its final home game of the season against Montana State Billings to clinch a Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament berth.

The Falcons (15-9, 9-7 GNAC) defeated the Yellowjackets (15-9, 9-7 GNAC) by a narrow margin, 76-71. It was Senior Day for the program, and the Falcons sent their seniors off from Seattle on a winning note.

“It was awesome last night, a big, tough game where we needed a win, and it was really special and exciting to go out on a win that important,” senior guard Rachel Murray said.

Murray was the SPU co-MVP last season, and she has been a multi-year letter winner as well as a member of the GNAC All-Academic team, for multiple years. She finished her final home game of her four-year career with seven rebounds, seven points, three assists and one steal.

The Falcons and the Yellowjackets came into this matchup with nearly identical records, so the game was expected to be a close one, and it did not disappoint. There was back-and-forth action for the game’s entirety, with 10 lead changes happening throughout.

The game started off with a layup for the Falcons on the opening drive by sophomore guard Suzanna Ohlsen, who finished the game with 12 points, five rebounds and three assists. Neither team could pull ahead of the other, with the biggest margin being a six-point lead for Billings two minutes into the game. The Falcons came out on top, 29-25, at the half, though, thanks to some great defensive effort on boards, with junior forward Katie Benson leading the way with nine rebounds in the game.

The second half saw a lot more offense, with both teams beginning to get hot and shooting the ball more efficiently. The Falcons’ duo of junior guard Aubree Callen and Benson was especially lethal Callen led the team with 25 points and Benson added 20.

For Billings, junior guard Bobbi Knudson and sophomore forward Kayleen Goggins were on fire, scoring 22 and 18 points, respectively.

The intensity was much higher in the second half as the fouls drastically increased, with Billings’ bench getting a technical foul early into the half. The Falcons’ free throw shooting was almost flawless; they went 13-15 from the line in a composed manner. That helped the Falcons secure a 76-71 victory over Billings after their all-around great performance.

“We can go a long way with the way we are playing now. We just need to take it one game at a time,” Murray said.

Murray is not the only senior that will be leaving the Falcons after this season ends. Guard Michelle Teng and center Erin Stephens are also seniors that have now played their last home game for the Falcons.

All three will greatly miss their teammates, the coaching staff and the memories they created at SPU. Those aren’t the only things they’ll miss, though.

“I’m going to miss the competitive nature of the sport. I will still play, but it won’t be the same,” Stephens said.

They have all enjoyed playing for the Falcons, and the Falcons have enjoyed having them, as well.

“It’s an honor to have played for and represented this program,” Murray said.

The Falcons finish off their regular season next week as they travel to Central Washington Wildcats (9-15, 4-12 GNAC) and Northwest Nazarene (18-6, 10-6 GNAC). In order to gain momentum for the GNAC Tournament, the Falcons aim to win both games. The GNAC Tournament will be held at Saint Martin’s starting March 6.

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Title: Falcons beat Billings, honor three seniors | Author: Austin Hackett | Section: Sports | Published Date: 2013-02-27 | Internal ID: 8595