The Northwest Nazarene women’s basketball team made history Saturday night in Bellingham, Washington.
The Nighthawks defeated Alaska Anchorage 70-64 at Carver Gym on the campus of Western Washington to claim the program’s first GNAC Tournament title and advance to the NCAA Division II West Regional for the second year in a row.
NNU (28-2) led by as many as 18 points in the first half, but faced a 62-59 deficit with 5:17 remaining in the fourth quarter. The Nighthawks then held the Seawolves (28-2) scoreless over the final 3 minutes, 26 seconds and converted key free throws down the stretch to top Anchorage for the second time in three meetings this season.
“After we came out so well in the first half we knew that wasn’t going to last forever,” NNU tournament MVP Ellie Logan said in a press release. “So just waiting for that run and knowing that mentally we had to withstand that run — and we were able to withstand it.”
The Nighthawks will find out who they play in the first round of the national tournament during the selection show, which starts at 8 p.m. Sunday on NCAA.com.
Logan, a redshirt senior guard, finished with a team-high 15 points and eight rebounds for NNU, and senior guard McKenna Walker added 11 points and five rebounds. The Nighthawks’ roster features six former Idaho high school players.
“Our kids made good adjustments as the game went on,” NNU coach Steve Steele said in a press release. “I talked less and less in the timeouts and the kids talked more and more. I just kind of sat back and enjoyed myself watching the kids coach themselves.
“They already know what to do. We had to get back to being aggressive, and I think that was the biggest thing.”
Men’s basketball: C of I returns to national semifinals
The College of Idaho tied a school record with its 31st victory of the season, outlasting fourth-ranked Morningside College 62-59 in the quarterfinals of the NAIA Division II Men’s Basketball Championship on Saturday at Sanford Pentagon in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
The Coyotes (31-5) advance to the national semifinals for the second year in a row — and third time in program history — where they will face Cascade Conference rival Oregon Tech at 5 p.m. MT on Monday for a spot in the title game.
Junior guard Talon Pinckney paced the Coyotes with 19 points, while junior Nate Bruneel chipped in 11 points and senior Keun Palu-Thompson had nine. C of I has 12 former Idaho high school standouts on its roster.