BC WOMEN’S BASKETBALL SUFFERS FIRST TWO LOSSES
The Bellevue College women’s basketball team entered the three-day Skagit Valley Crossover with a 6-0 season record and ranked 3rd in the December 14 NWAACC Coaches Poll. Bellevue’s first round opponent on Friday, Dec. 16, was Spokane, a team the Bulldogs have faced three times in the last two years with Bellevue holding a 2-1 advantage. The game started great for the Bulldogs getting out to an early lead, which they would hold until halftime. “We were playing unbelievably well,” said Bulldogs Head Coach Brent Hermanson. “We were simply firing on all cylinders.” The Bulldogs finished the game with a 72-44 score. Considering the last three match-ups had much closer results, it was a total team effort for Bellevue, and a dominating victory that would surely send a statement to the rest of the conference. Unfortunately, shortly after the game the Bulldogs would be required to forfeit for playing players that were not eligible until January 2. Despite our belief that the players were indeed eligible on December 15, it was later deemed to not be the case, and this tremendous effort would forfeited by the Bulldogs. “I told the players it was my decision to play the girls in question based on the information I had, and the result was my responsibility as well,” said Coach Hermanson after their fate was decided.
On Saturday, Dec. 17, game two would have the Bulldogs moved to the losers side of the bracket to face the Tacoma Titans. Tacoma has steadily improved since the arrival of head coach Heidi Collier, and her team would provide a test for the Bulldogs. Tacoma was short-handed with their best scorer injured and unable to play, but the Bulldogs got out early and held the lead through the first half. At halftime it was Bellevue 35, Tacoma 24. In the second half defense was the story. Despite the athleticism of the Titans, the Bulldogs held Tacoma to only 16 points in the second half and notched their seventh win of the season 66-40. Brittany Barrington led the way scoring for the Bulldogs with 20, while Sanda Milovic added 17. DeMarea Caples added 11 points and 5 steals. Barrington completed the contest adding 10 rebounds for a double/double for the Bulldogs.
In the third and final game on Sunday, Bellevue faced the Big Bend Vikings of the East region. Although Bellevue was scheduled to play Pierce, during pre-season tournaments division teams generally don’t play each other unless it’s a championship game. The Bulldogs would be moved to the 1 p.m. game to play Big Bend. The Bulldogs were short-handed for the game with Kelsey Sparks, Briana Shannon, Taylor Wofford, TyShana Burgess, and Anna Hobby all out for various reasons, so it was going to be tough to get past a Vikings team that is very well coached and talented. The game started off with the teams trading baskets, and that trend continued through the first half with the Vikings holding a slim two-point advantage 29-27. In the second half it was more of the same, but with two minutes to go the Bulldogs took the lead and held a five-point advantage with a little over a minute to play. Unfortunately, Bellevue couldn’t hold the lead, making some crucial mistakes down stretch and the Vikings were able to execute when they needed to. In the end, the Vikings would have a 68-63 win, handing the Bulldogs their second loss of the season. “I’m always impressed with how hard the Vikings play every time we see them. There is no quit in those players, and that’s a credit to them and their coaching staff,” said Hermanson. For the Bulldogs, Courtney Batts played extremely well at both ends scoring 9 points to go with 6 rebounds, while guarding the Vikings best player for 28 minutes. The scoring leaders for the Bulldogs were Barrington with 21pts to go with 11 rebounds her second straight double/double, Milovic with 16 points and VanHurston with 14. Sanda Milovic was named to the All-Tournament team for the Bulldogs, her second all-tournament selection of the year.
Next up for the Lady Bulldogs is a game against Highline CC on Thursday, Dec. 22 at 6 p.m. in the ShoWare Showcase. The Bulldogs will finish the pre-season with a trip to Blue Mountain in Pendleton, OR, December 30.
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