The Seattle Pacific women’s basketball team started its weekend feeling sweet with a blowout victory against Central Washington on Thursday. But it turned very sour against Northwest Nazarene on Saturday. Not only did the Falcons lose the game to NNU, but they lost one of their key players to a leg injury — sophomore guard Bri Lasconia.
The Falcons (15-7, 8-6 GNAC) controlled most of the game against CWU. They played solid defense as they went on to win 68-47 and limited CWU to just 40 shots.
Senior forward Katie Benson led the way with 20 points, and junior guard Suzanna Ohlsen added 13 of her own. Ohlsen was also dominant on defense, contributing to five of the team’s 13 steals.
When NNU came to play on Saturday, the story was a little bit different. SPU jumped out to a quick 14-5 lead, but NNU started to dominate after that.
“We got some really good shots, and that made us too relaxed,” Ohlsen said. “We quit having tight passes, and that led to three or four steals in a row.”
The Crusaders went on an 18-2 run to make it 23-16. The Falcons weren’t able to contain the Crusaders and found themselves down 42-27 at halftime, with the momentum in favor of the visitors.
“At halftime, we just talked about fighting,” head coach Julie Heisey said. “We had to be much more aggressive in the second half.”
But NNU was still able to stretch its lead to 22 points as they led 61-39 with 12:33 left in the game. Then the Falcons became more aggressive.
Between steals, blocked shots and overall tighter defense, SPU was able to pull within 13 points with 7:35 left. Then, as Lasconia was driving to the hoop, she tumbled to the ground, immediately clutching her knee. The gym grew silent because she wasn’t getting back up.
Lasconia had twisted her knee in a way that it’s not supposed to. She was eventually carried off the court, accompanied by loud applause. Lasconia averages 6.6 points per game off the bench and plays significant minutes every game. She has an MRI scheduled for today.
“We all huddled once she went down, and we wanted to play for her,” Ohlsen said. “We said, ‘If Bri was out there, she’d be aggressive and attacking the basket, so let’s do that for her.’ ”
As the Falcons tried to continue their comeback after Lasconia went down, there was something different about them.
Their defense was just a little more aggressive and their shots were that much more on target.
SPU was able to cut the lead down to 10 with 1:06 left in the game. Then, redshirt junior guard Betsy Kingma and Ohlsen were able to get back-to-back steals, and the Falcons were within six with 47 seconds left.
The Falcons fought with everything they had, but they simply ran out of time. They went on to lose the game 75-67.
“We played really hard,” Heisey said. “Bottom line, we were down by 22, and we cut it to six. We just have to build off of that.”
Benson added in another 25 points for the Falcons, and Ohlsen had 16 of her own. Benson now has 1,563 points for her career, which ranks No. 6 in school history
This is the first time that NNU was won at Royal Brougham in 16 tries, which just adds more salt to the wound. NNU is also Heisey’s alma mater, and this is only the third time she’s lost to them since the 2007-2008 season.
With four games left in the season, the playoff race is becoming increasingly close. After Saturday’s loss, the Falcons are now tied for fifth with Saint Martin’s in the GNAC. SPU goes on the road to play Saint Martin’s and Western Oregon on Thursday and Saturday, respectively.