The Simon Fraser University women's basketball team showed a lot of pluck in in its first NCAA conference playoff.
The Clan earned its first-ever post-season win at the Great Northwest conference tournament, defeating Seattle Pacific University 69-61 in Lacey, Washington on March 1.
The fifth-seeded SFU women then came back twice from big deficits in the semifinals before falling 74-70 to regular season champion Alaska Anchorage on the Friday.
"I thought we showed a lot of resiliency, being down 18 (points) twice and coming back against a top-10 team that's deep and very physical," said SFU head coach Bruce Langford in a Clan press release.
Great Northwest top scorer Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe collected two more of her conference record 24 double-doubles to pace the Clan in the team's two playoff matchups.
The Clan junior scored 20 points and had 12 boards, including 11 points and eight rebounds in the opening half against Seattle Pacific.
Raincock-Ekunwe had a team-high 21 points and a game-high 13 rebounds in the semifinal loss to Anchorage.
Kristina Collins tied Raincock-Ekunwe with 21 points in the Friday loss.
In the opener, SFU led from start to finish with the help of Carla Wyman, who chipped in with 16 points, including a key three-pointer in the final minutes, and seven rebounds.
Erin Chambers also had a strong game, netting 10 points and four boards. The freshman guard opened the game with a three-pointer. She also grabbed a big offensive rebound and made two free throws on the subsequent foul to give the Clan a seven-point cushion with less than a minute to play.
Against Alaska Anchorage, Wyman again hit double-digit scoring with 13 points.
SFU outplayed the top-10 Anchorage school in many statistical categories, including most rebounds, assists, blocks, steals and three-point shots.
Anchorage led 25-7 at one point of the first half, but SFU rallied with a 16-7 run of its own to close the half trailing 40-31.
The U.S. school regained a big lead in the second half, but the Clan again cut into the deficit on a number of Collins' treys.
With 40 seconds left in the contest, Collins nailed a three-ball to cut the lead to five points. She then was fouled on another attempted three and made of her free throws to shave the deficit to just four points.
"Next year, we need to work on being more consistent," said Langford. "We need to get stronger and more skilled but the team needs to feel pretty proud about how they played tonight. I'm so proud of them after tonight's game. We outrebounded them and outshot them from the tree-point line. We're pretty pleased with that."
SFU finished its season with a 17-10 record, while finishing in a time for third place in the conference.
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