ANCHORAGE – Senior forward Tia Briggs collected 18 points and six rebounds to help 3rd-seeded Western Washington pull away for a 74-48 victory over 6th-seeded Cal State East Bay in the first round of the NCAA Div. II West Regional Women’s Basketball Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center on Friday.
The Vikings (26-5) also got 18 points from senior guard Taylor Peacocke and 13 points from senior forward Kiana Gandy as they advanced to play the Point Loma/Cal Baptist winner in Saturday’s 5 p.m. AST regional semifinal.
The Pioneers (22-9) were led by 23 points from senior guard Shomari Harris, but the California Collegiate Athletic Association Tournament champions shot just 29 percent from the floor as they exited in the NCAA Tournament first round for the second straight year.
Nationally 16th-ranked Western Washington – the Great Northwest Athletic Conference regular-season and tournament runner-up – also got nine assists and three steals from guard Jessica Valley, plus 10 rebounds, three steals and three assists from forward Rachel Albert. The Vikings shot 50 percent from the field and won the rebounding battle 39-26.
Making its first NCAA appearance since 2014, Western Washington started the game on a 9-0 run and led by at least 14 points throughout the second half.