Bobbi Hazeltine couldn’t have asked much more of her team on the defensive end of the court Wednesday night in the Dietrich Dome.
But it was an altogether different story when the Warriors had the ball. And WWCC’s ongoing shooting woes enabled the Sasquatch to leave town with a 53-43 women’s basketball victory and sole possession of first place in the Northwest Athletic Conference East Region standings.
“Our defense was so good,” the Warriors coach said. “We had a really good game plan and were very prepared for everything, but on the offensive end we just struggled. It’s been our downfall all year.”
The Warriors surged to a 14-4 lead after one quarter but were unable to maintain the momentum. The teams were deadlocked at 37-37 after three quarters and Spokane outscored Walla Walla 16-6 in a decisive final 10 minutes.
“We should have put them away early and we didn’t,” Hazeltine said. “We allowed them to get back in the game and then we went absolutely cold. Spokane is too good a team to go stagnant like we did.”
The Warriors held the Sasquatch to 29 percent shooting (18-for-62) from the field but shot just 21 percent (13-for-61) themselves. Walla Walla shot 18 percent (2-for-11) from 3-point distance while Spokane was 6-for-15 (40 percent) from behind the arc.
“They hit some shots and we just can’t,” Hazeltine said. “It’s been like that all year.”
Kennedy Corrigan led Walla Walla scorers with 12 points, eight of them coming from the free-throw line. Tabitha Wellsandt added 11 points and fellow freshman post Emily Hancock scored nine.
Bri King led a balanced Spokane offense with 14 points. Cali Moscrip added nine points, Gese Gruber eight and six other Sasquatch scored between two and five points.
Moscrip drained two clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and King, whom Hazeltine regards as the best player in the East, scored all but two of her points in the second half.
“We put Kennedy (Corrigan) on Bre (King), and she did a great job defending her in the first half,” Hazeltine said. “But Bre is a great player and she hit some mid-range jumpers in the second half that girls at this level don’t necessarily hit.
“Our game plan was to force her to make mid-range jump shots, and she did. But Kennedy really competed against her.”
Spokane, 20-6 overall, improved to 9-2 in the region and holds a half-a-game lead over idle Wenatchee, which takes an 8-2 league record to Blue Mountain Friday. Third-place Columbia Basin, which defeated Big Bend 76-56 Wednesday night in Pasco, is a full game behind the Sasquatch at 8-3.
Walla Walla, meanwhile, slid to 5-6 in league play and finds itself in fifth place in the East and in danger of missing the postseason tournament for the first time since 2000. The Warriors take a 16-8 overall record to Big Bend Saturday.
“I’m trying not to look at the standings because I don’t want to put any more pressure on the girls,” Hazeltine said. “But we are probably going to need some help, and we are probably going to have to win out.
“That makes Saturday’s game at Big Bend huge, and we have struggled up there. We just have to relax and play the game. But you have to make shots to win at this game, and we haven’t.”
Photo by Greg Lehman of the Walla Walla Union-Bulletin