MONMOUTH — The Western Oregon University women’s basketball team was dealt a 63-53 loss against Northwest Nazarene University Thursday night after defending the lead for most of the game.
Trouble came in the fourth quarter, after coming out of the locker rooms leading by 10. The upset victory vision fell away quickly for the Wolves (5-11 overall, 2-7 Great Northwest Athletic Conference) as the Nighthawks (12-5 overall, 7-2) outscored them 23-3 after a solid three quarters of controlling the game.
“It’s extremely frustrating to lead and win all three quarters and then just disappear in the fourth,” said head coach Holli Howard-Carpenter. “We played tight and stopped moving the ball and doing the things that got us there. Good teams will find ways to go on runs and great players will make great plays. We need to be able to answer when they do. Staying the course and playing with confidence when we have a lead is something we have to get a handle on.”
The final 10 minutes of the game saw the Wolves’ confidence be chipped away as the Nighthawks revved up their offense.
“In the fourth quarter, it became really obvious that we were uncomfortable and started lacking confidence when NNU made a surge at the end,” Green said. “I think as a team we tend to be very wary of making mistakes and, in close games and especially at the end, that causes us to play tight. One thing that we need to work on is how to play with confidence and trust in each other, especially when the stakes are high. But all in all, I think we learned so much from how we played against NNU and going forward we now get the opportunity to make changes and work on those issues that have seemed to perpetuate throughout the season.”
Cali McClave led for the night in scoring, with 14 points and adding in two rebounds. Green added 12 points and seven rebounds. Junior Keyonna Jones scored seven points, and pulled in five rebounds, five assist and a steal.
On Saturday, the Wolves hosted Central Washington (11-7 overall, 6-4 GNAC) and couldn’t hold off the Wildcats enough to have a shot at the victory, losing another home game 70-50. Green nabbed 12 points to lead for scoring for the night, and added five rebounds. Jones also contributed 12 points.
Thursday, the team travels to Simon Fraser at 7 p.m. to begin its second round of conference play.