(MSUB Athletics release)
ELLENSBURG, Wash. – Kassidy Malcolm banked in a 3-pointer to beat the second-quarter buzzer, summing up a night where everything went the way of host Central Washington University in a 93-58 Great Northwest Athletic Conference win over visiting Montana State University Billings at Nicholson Pavilion.
Malcolm’s last-second shot gave the Wildcats a 44-24 lead at halftime, and closed off a span of 20 minutes during which they made 7 of 14 threes and shot 48.6 percent overall (17-for-35). Four different Wildcats converted from the arc and seven different players had multiple points in the first-half barrage, and MSUB never recovered.
Overall on the night CWU shot a blistering 58.3 percent from 3-point range (14-for-24), the highest percentage MSUB allowed since Harding University shot 62.5 percent (10-for-16) on December 17, 2017. Seven different Wildcats made at least one trey in the contest, while Kaelie Flores had career highs of 24 points and four 3-pointers to lead her team to victory.
“Central Washington played great tonight, and they dominated us on both ends of the floor,” said MSUB head coach Kevin Woodin. “They really had us on our heels all night long. It was one of those nights when we struggled making shots, and it became contagious for our team. We need to avoid those droughts.”
Junior guard Alexis Pana was perhaps the game’s most dominant player, as she scored 18 points to go along with a game-high nine rebounds and seven assists. It wasn’t the first time this year Pana flirted with triple-double territory, as she had 21 points, 11 assists, and eight rebounds last week against Saint Martin’s. Malcolm chipped in 19 points, eight rebounds, and three assists, and Taylor Shaw had nine points, seven rebounds, and six assists for the ‘Cats.
CWU kept a firm grip on third place in the GNAC standings, moving to 11-4 overall and 6-2 in conference play.
The Yellowjackets made just 2 of 9 threes in the first half (22.2 percent), and shot just 26.3 percent overall in the first two quarters (10-for-38). Taylor Cunningham led her team with 13 points, and connected on 3 of 4 shots from the arc to continue her hot shooting as of late. Over the last five games the junior is converting at a clip of 45.7 percent overall and a mark of 56.5 percent from 3-point range.
Taryn Shelley just missed her fourth double-double of the year, as she finished with a dozen points and nine rebounds while playing 24 minutes. Hannah Collins was also in double figures for MSUB with 11 points, and Jeanann Lemelin had a team-high four assists.
MSUB fell to 7-6 with the defeat, and is now 3-4 in conference play. The 93 points allowed were the most in a game this season and the most by a Yellowjacket team since a 98-57 loss at the hands of Seattle Pacific University on February 4, 2017. “Offensively we were very poor in the second quarter, and we need to become more consistent,” Woodin said. “We only had five turnovers at halftime, but each of them led to points for them. In the second half we made a few more shots, but we didn’t defend well at all. They shot the three extremely well tonight, which opened up a lot of things for them.”
Malcolm nailed another trey to open up the third quarter, and MSUB never got within 20 points the rest of the game. Even Samantha Bowman, who entered the night 0-for-2 on the year from downtown, got in on the action with a three midway through the third quarter.
Vanessa Stavish finished with seven points and seven rebounds for MSUB, on a night where the ‘Jackets were out-rebounded 44-31.
THE BUZZ: Shelley was named the St. Vincent Healthcare Player of the Game…the six offensive rebounds were the most by Shelley in a game this season…the freshman had two blocks, marking her eighth multi-block game this year which is tied for second-most in the GNAC with Flores…MSUB is now 25-12 all-time against CWU and is 10-7 in games played in Ellensburg…the 14 threes allowed by MSUB were the most since Western Oregon made 15 of 31 on January 14, 2017.
NEXT UP: The ‘Jackets face No. 4 Northwest Nazarene (15-0, 7-0) on Saturday evening in Nampa, Idaho. Tipoff is set for 7 p.m. and live video with play-by-play commentary and live statistics will be available through the MSUB Stretch Internet portal online.