ANCHORAGE – Sophomore forward Sophie Swant scored 17 points and senior point guard Ellen Kett finished with 14 points and 11 assists Friday to lead 5th-seeded Simon Fraser to a 69-65 victory over 4th-seeded UC San Diego in the first round of the NCAA Div. II Women’s Basketball West Regionals Championships at the Alaska Airlines Center.
The Clan (25-7) also got 11 points from junior guard Elisa Homer – all in the second half – to pull away in the final five minutes.
The Tritons (23-7) were led by 15 points and 10 rebounds from reserve forward Mikayla Williams, but the California Collegiate Athletic Association regular-season champions committed 10 more turnovers than their opponent. UCSD had reached the regional final last season.
After a back-and-forth game that saw neither team lead by more than eight points, Kett swished a short jumper in the paint to give her team a 61-60 advantage at the 5-minute mark. Great Northwest Athletic Conference Freshman of the Year Ozi Nwabuko followed with a traditional three-point play, and Kett fed Nwabuko for another layup with 3:33 left to make it 66-60.
The Clan missed a pair of free throws down the stretch but held on to a two- or three-possession lead the rest of the way.
Making its first NCAA Regional Semifinals appearance since 2014, the NCAA’s lone Canadian program will face the winner of top-seeded Alaska Anchorage and 8th-seeded Hawaii Pacific in Saturday’s 7:30 p.m. AST matchup at the Alaska Airlines Center.