Low-scoring second halfs meant two losses for Seattle Pacific University against University of Alaska Anchorage and University of Alaska Fairbanks. Losing Thursday night to Anchorage, 71-62, followed by Fairbanks on Saturday, 72-59, leaves the Falcons with a record of 5-5 in conference play, 13-5 overall.
On Thursday, as the Falcon defense wavered, Alaska Anchorage was able to come back from a nine point deficit at the half and come away with the win.
“We want our team identity to be defense, so that is something that we can always continue to work on and improve,” junior forward Erica Pagano said.
Junior guard Lindsey Lee came away with a career high 12 points and five steals, but all her scoring was in the first half, which left SPU with an abysmal 26.9 percent scoring rate in the second half.
Head Coach Julie Heisey says simply, “They hit shots, and we didn’t.”
On Saturday, the Falcons were trailing by 12 within the first four minutes of play due to five turnovers before they could get their first shot up. Pushing to within three points of Fairbanks by the half, SPU was hitting their stride.
By the middle of the third quarter, the Falcons claimed the lead for the first time all game. Fairbanks dominated the fourth quarter, scoring 16 of the final 21 points of the game, leaving SPU with 28.6 percent scoring rate in the second half and a loss.
Junior guard Jordan McPhee led scoring with 12 points, and Pagano and sophomore center Julia Haining each put nine points on the board.
Missing leading scorer and rebounder junior guard Courtney Hollander due to injury and senior guard Rachel Shim due to illness, the Falcons were severely underrepresented on offense.
“We have a really deep bench, so having a lot of people contributing in games has worked well for us,” said Pagano, who credits their bench with their ability to stay competitive even with two major personnel losses. “We have multiple people who can score and a lot of talent on the floor at all times. We are able to rotate a lot of different people in and tire out other teams.”
“We are going to set back to our basics because we have gotten lazy and we have to put in our highest level of effort, or we won’t win,” Heisey said.
Heisey feels good about the level of play from the last week saying, “we played three of the toughest competitors recently, and we had a chance to win, so we are going to learn from the good, but we have to be tough because our conference is hard.”
“My team is full of hard workers, and they want to do what is right,” Heisey said. “We got to stay together, and we got to battle.”
Next up for the Falcons are four away games, starting with Northwest Nazarene University on Thursday, Jan. 26 at 4:15 p.m.