Pirates capture NWAC Elite 8 finish

PORT ANGELES – The Peninsula College women’s basketball program rose to superpower status with a Northwest Athletic Conference championship in 2015 and a second-place finish in 2016, but slipped to just being good in 2017 with a second-place finish in the North Region and top-eight finish in the NWAC.

The 2016-17 Pirates suffered some injuries down the stretch that may have cost them a third-straight North championship - and the opportunity to advance further into the NWAC Tournament.

The Pirates finished 19-10 overall and 10-4 in North Region play under head coach Alison Crumb, in her seventh year with the Pirates. It was the sixth straight trip to the post-season for the Port Angeles-born head coach, who now has 114 wins and 79 losses as a Pirate.

“We had a great season, with really great kids, who are going to do amazing things in the future,” Coach Crumb said. “Unfortunately, most seasons end in a loss, but that does not define the success that we have had on and off the floor. We ran into a really tough Umpqua team and just didn’t have enough to get past them, but that is how it goes sometimes. I’m proud of the players and their dedication to the program and the community. They will truly be missed."

The PC women were led by sophomores this year and will graduate their entire starting five, in Alicia Dugan, Jenise McKnight, Anaya Rodisha, Sephora Yayouss and Tai Thomas, as well as Cami Butler, Milan Barnes and red-shirt freshman Jackie Schaubel.

Waiting in the wings to get Peninsula back to the NWAC championship in 2017-18 are red-shirt sophomore Jamellia Clark, and freshmen Kayla Alvarez, Hannah Geberyesus, Yamilei Rodriguez, and Tiffani Smith, who will join Coach Crumb’s recruiting class next fall.

“Moving forward, we want to continue to recruit kids that will bring positive contributions to our campus and local community,” Crumb said. “Athletically, we are losing eight players, so we are going to need to go out and get competitive kids at every position. We have a good group that we are talking to now, but we will see how the off season goes. Looking forward to the future.”

NWAC Tournament: PC 69, Tacoma 61
After trailing early, the Pirates made a run to go up 35-32 at halftime and then outscored the Titans 34-29 in the second half to put the game away.

Tai Thomas, who had a sensational tournament for Peninsula, led the way with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Jenise McKnight added 17 points and eight boards, and Anaya Rodisha scored 12.

Bobbi Westendorf led all scorers with 36 points and 14 rebounds for Tacoma.

NWAC Tournament: Umpqua 85, Peninsula 58
The top-ranked River Hawks are almost literally head and shoulders above the rest of the NWAC this year, and the Roseburg, Oregon women dominated this one from start to finish.

Thomas again led the Pirates with 17 points, McKnight had 14, Tiffani Smith nine and Sephora Yayouss eight.

Umpqua’s 6-3 post Dajanay Powell poured in 35 points and pulled down 14 rebounds, and her 6-4 teammate Jordan Stotler finished with 20 points, 17 boards, six blocked shots and seven assists.