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Women head to playoffs

Over the weekend, the Portland State women’s basketball team hosted their last two home games of the regular season. On Thursday, Montana State visited the Stott center with hopes of being only the second team in conference to defeat Portland State at home. After a hard fought second half and Nikki Petticrew recording her 1,000th point of her PSU career, the Vikings went down 76-64. On Saturday it was senior night for three Vikings and a match-up against rival Montana. Portland State controlled most of the game to gather a victory, 67-58.

On Thursday night, second ranked Montana State struggled in the first half to a stingy Portland State defense. The Vikings controlled the tempo and the lead for majority of the first half. However just before halftime, the Bobcats began chipping away at the lead, taking it over on a lay-up just before the halftime buzzer, 36-35.

In the second half, it was more of the Bobcats attack as their leading scorer Isabel Stubbs got it going offensively. The Bobcats outscored the Vikings 40-29 in the second period, leading them to the eventual win. Sarah Hedgepeth led the way with 22 points and 17 rebounds, shooting 10-15 from the field. Petticrew added 15 points on 5-10, including three from beyond the arc. Point guard, Michelle Thueson handed out 12 assists in the game for a career high.

On Saturday night, the Vikings came out slow in the first half, going down 8-0 in the first minutes of action. The Vikings then kicked it into gear, making a brilliant 31-13 run on the Grizzlies to go up by 10 at halftime, 31-21.

In the second half, the Vikings put even more pressure on the visiting Grizzlies, when Petticrew hit a three, putting the lead to 48-32. After that, the Grizzlies put on a run of their own, scoring 21 points to only four from Portland State in the next six minutes and taking a one-point advantage 53-52. Nonetheless the resilient Vikings kept their composure to finish the game, ending with a 15-5 run and the eighth conference win of the season.

Three players scored in double figures for the Vikings, Hedgepeth with 19, Carrie Spencer with 19 and Petticrew with 12. Hedgepeth and Spencer both added nine boards each, with Hedgepeth also handing out a team-high seven assists. The game marked the last home outing for three great Viking players: Michelle Thueson, Nikishalani Sadowski and Nikki Petticrew.

This win put the Vikings at 8-6 in conference and a fourth place seed in the Big Sky Tournament, which is to be held at Weber State this week. Portland State is set to play Eastern Washington in the first round on Thursday night. Eastern is just coming off two straight home losses, including a 101-68 crushing by Montana State on Saturday in Cheney, Wash. The two teams will do battle Thursday night for a chance to advance in the postseason tournament.