The Seawolves shut the door early on visiting Western Oregon University on Saturday night and earned their 11 straight win in a 77-51 blow-out. With the win the Seawolves have clinched a playoff spot in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference tournament March 4-7.
The Seawolves unrelenting defensive effort was on display all evening, disrupting any and all flow to Western Oregon’s offense. The Seawolves, who lead the nation in steals per game, came away with 11 heists in the contest.
The squad from Monmouth now fall to 2-10 in GNAC contests. Jordan Mottershaw and Dana Goularte each scored 10 points for the Wolves. Sami Osborne finished the game with 9 points and 8 rebounds.
The Seawolves opened on a 19-0 run and led by as many as 32 points. Sierra Afoa, who hails from Anchorage, led all scorers with 15 points, going 7-10 from the field. Megan Mullings and Jenna Buchanan combined for 28 points and 11 rebounds. Mullings athleticism was too much for the Wolves inside whereas Buchanan had the hot hand all night.
“I really liked our effort from an entire 40 minute standpoint” said head coach Ryan McCarthy after the game.
The visiting Wolves first basket came at 12:53 of the first half when Shyla Akins made a three pointer. However, the Wolves would make only 4 more 3-pointers the rest of the game, shooting 20% from behind the arc. The Seawolves crashed the boards hard in the first half, consistently giving the Wolves only one shot per possession.
Although the Seawolves lead was never threatened in the first half, several turnovers and Western Oregon lay-ups prompted a timeout at the 8:50 mark by McCarthy. In the timeout, Coach McCarthy told his team plainly, “You guys are getting outworked!”
Following the timeout, McCarthy’s team got right back to business. The timeout sparked a 10-1 run which was highlighted with a Jerica Nelson steal and lay-up that made it 28-10 with 5:29 remaining in the half.
The Wolves of Western Oregon would go on a small run on their own to close the half. The Wolves’ Dana Goularte made several nice plays to help her team go on a 7-2 run. The Seawolves held a 39-21 lead heading into the locker room.
The second half belonged to Afoa. The freshmen shined in front of her hometown and added 6 more points to her total.
“I couldn’t be more pleased with Sierra Afoa and Jerica Nelson” said McCarthy after the game.
Both Afoa and Nelson have been given more minutes due to injuries to guard Adriana Dent and forward Leah Bonner.
Nelson finished the game with 3 assists and 2 steals.
The Seawolves shot 48% from the field in the second half and 60% from three.
An Alli Madison trey at the 14:43 mark of the second half, the Seawolves extended their lead to 24 and lead by at least 19 points the rest of the way.
The Wolves put up less 3-pointers in the second half, shooting 3-9 from distance. Michelle Bromagem of Western Oregon came off the bench midway through the half and buried 2 triples for her squad.
The Seawolves are on the road next weekend as they fly north to Fairbanks for a date with the Nanooks on Valentine’s Day.