There was nothing sweet about Simon Fraser University's finish in the final 16 at the NCAA Division II national women's basketball championships.
The Clan lost the West region final 75-58 to Great Northwest conference rival Western Washington University in Bellingham on
Tuesday. The loss ends a historic first full season in the NCAA that saw the team ranked as high as sixth nationally and second in the region.
"So close," said SFU head coach Bruce Langford a day after the loss. "The cause of that is the story of the game. We made crucial mistakes (on defence) that hurt us badly, and we didn't get the quality shots. The difference was very,
Graduating senior Nayo Raincock-Ekunwe finished her collegiate career two rebounds short of her 64th double-double, including a team-high 19 points.
SFU led for most of the first half, but went into half time trailing 32-30 following a 9-1 finish by the host Vikings.
The Clan retook the lead shortly after the restart but later in the second half a Sydney Donaldson jump shot sparked a game-changing 15-2 Western Washington run.
Fellow senior Carla Wyman, who, along with all-conference players Raincock-Ekunwe and Kristina Collins, stayed with the program when it went NCAA, finished her career with 10 points.
"They are the reason the program is where it is," said Langford. "They could have gone anwhere, but these three stayed here and it made all the difference."
Raincock-Ekunwe wrote herself into the collegiate record book in seven separate categories, including an all-time 58 per cent career field goal percentage. She also placed fourth in the NCAA in rebounds per game, averaging 12.4 boards in Div. II.
SFU finished its first full NCAA Div. II season with an overall record of 25-6.
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