Falcons need win to enter GNAC

Samantha Ledbetter | The Falcon
Junior guard Courtney Hollander jumps for the tip-off in previous home game.

With the loss of two crucial players, the Falcons fell to University of Alaska Fairbanks, 63-61, and University of Alaska Anchorage, 94-50. Bringing their record to 17-9 overall and 9-9 in conference, the Falcons have now lost four games in a row.

On Thursday, against Fairbanks, the game was tied at 61-61 with 15 seconds left when Jordan Wilson of Fairbanks sunk two free throws, giving them the win.

The Falcons’ sophomore center Carly Rataushk stepped up and scored 14 points and seven rebounds. Junior guard Jordan McPhee added 18 points to the Falcon total, even while fouling out in the final minutes of the fourth quarter.

“[Thursday] was definitely a heartbreaking loss,” said Albert, who missed a final layup that would have helped secure the win. “We were all upset with the outcome, but I have to applaud our effort and fight till the end.”

On Saturday, the Falcons could not seem to lessen the immense lead that Anchorage carried throughout the game. SPU ended the half down 52-23.

“This week we have to work on ending each quarter better,” Head Coach Julie Heisey said. “We also have to make sure that we win the battle of the boards and don’t allow their guards to drive middle.”

McPhee scored 10 points, with four rebounds, four assists, three steals and one blocked shot. Junior guard Lindsey Lee hit 10 points coming off the bench.

Senior guard Hannah Rodrigues stepped up and scored 13 points, all of which were free throws, giving her 92.9 percent from the line.

Coach Heisey applauded many players who stepped up into starting roles due to the injuries of junior guard Courtney Hollander and senior guard Rachel Shim. Both starters, these two make huge impacts on the court each week.

“We have all tried to step up,” Heisey said. “[Pagano, Rataushk and Rodrigues] helped fill the rebounding and scoring roles of [Shim] and [Hollander]. [Rataushk] and [Pagano] shot the ball very well at Fairbanks. [Sophomore Jaylee Albert, senior Brianne Lasconia and junior Jordan McPhee] all shared point-guard duties. I thought [Albert] did a super job at Fairbanks playing 35 minutes.”

Although many players put many points on the board, it wasn’t enough to overcome the four Anchorage players who scored more than 10 points a piece.

SPU plays against Concordia on Thursday at 7 p.m., and a win would secure their place in the GNAC tournament.

On Saturday, they play Western Oregon at 2 p.m.

“Everyone had a can do attitude and supported each other in adversity,” Heisey said. “I was proud of our response to adversity.”

Albert added, “After the game we talked about how that loss should hurt, but that we can’t hang our heads because we have another big challenge this week.”

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