No. 13 SOU women pull away for win
KIRLAND, Wash. — Even the Southern Oregon women's basketball team's Cascade Conference "tests" are turning into routs, the latest exhibit being an 85-69 triumph at Northwest University on Sunday afternoon.
The Eagles were within 45-41 at halftime, but 13th-ranked SOU (11-0, 4-0 CCC) put the clamps on them in the second half when it forced the hosts into dismal 7-for-34 to prolong a program-best start. Northwest (6-8, 2-3) shot just 29 percent (22-for-76) for the game.
Ashley Claussen sunk five of eight 3-point attempts on the way to a team-high 21 points, and four more Raiders hit double figures, too. They've now taken four conference games by an average margin of 31.3 points.
Courtney Setzer and Toria Bradford both scored 14 off the bench, and the latter went 5-for-5 to achieve a season-best output.
The introduction of Sydney Mullings — who made her SOU debut Saturday at Evergreen with 10 points and seven rebounds — into the rotation also paid dividends again. The 5-foot-11 junior forward, a transfer from South Mountain C.C. (Ariz.), tallied 12 points and nine boards in her second game back.
The Raiders break until a Dec. 30 matchup with Multnomah University, which will be followed by a New Year's Eve meeting with Warner Pacific.
SOU 99, NORTHWEST 91, OT: At Kirkland, Wash., at some point, tardy starts and hectic finishes will probably catch up with the 10th-ranked Southern Oregon men's basketball team. But senior forward Jordan West made sure it wasn't Sunday afternoon after two overtimes at Northwest University.
West scored a career-high 38 points, including 29 after halftime on 11-of-13 shooting, and the Raiders came back to narrowly escape with another Cascade Conference victory over the Eagles. With a 4-0 CCC record, the Raiders (11-3) are locked into a first-place tie with Warner Pacific and will break until hosting Multnomah and WPC on Dec. 30 and 31.
Playing from behind for most of the second half, the Raiders faced their largest deficit when Ben Tucakovic's 3-pointer put Northwest up 62-52 with 4:32 left in regulation. SOU needed just over two minutes to tie it with 10 unanswered points: West started a 15-2 run with a 3 and ended it with another, giving the Raiders a 65-64 lead with 58 seconds remaining. Tucakovic answered with a triple of his own, and West's free throws with 31 seconds left forced the first overtime.
SOU started the session with six straight points, capped by Clay Sierra's emphatic fast-break jam. Down 80-75, Northwest came back as Dak Shagren hit a 3-pointer with 25 seconds left and, after West made one of two free throws on the other end, Shagren was fouled shooting from downtown with 11 ticks on the clock. He converted all three free attempts to force another extra period.
TOURNAMENT OF CHAMPIONS: At Reno, Nev., Southern Oregon 184-pounder Ryan McWatters has already established himself as a force in the NAIA ranks this season, and the senior continued his dominance against a handful of NCAA Div. I opponents while placing fourth at the Reno Tournament of Champions.
Ranked third in the NAIA with a 6-0 dual record coming into the day, McWatters went 6-2 at Reno and began his run with three wins in the champions bracket: a 6-2 decision against Wyoming's Luke Paine, a 10-1 major decision over Boise State's Keavon Buckley and a 6-5 win over Oklahoma State's Luke Bean.
McWatters fell in the seventh minute of his quarterfinal bout against top-seeded Jeff Koepke of Illinois, but bounced back with three triumphs in the consolation bracket. He defeated Simon Fraser's Morgan Smith, 4-3, Wyoming's Jace Jensen, 13-2, and second-seeded Austin Severn of Central Michigan, 7-5. In the third-place match, third-seeded Jordan Ellingwood of Central Michigan stopped him in a 6-1 decision.
Five other Raiders scored with victories, led by Tyler Cowger's 4-2 mark. Cowger, ranked second in the NAIA at 149, started with a 15-0 technical-fall triumph against unattached wrestler Michael Carr of Oregon State. Montana State-Northern's Drake Randall upset him in the round of 32 before he came back with decisions over Wyoming's Branson Ashworth (6-4) and Campbell's Zane Knight (5-2). He was eliminated by Wyoming's Jake Elliott, 5-2.