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Women's Basketball News

PORT ANGELES – And now it matters.

The non-conference schedule is now in the rear view mirror as the Pirates open Northwest Athletic Conference North Division play Saturday at Edmonds.

The defending NWAC champion Pirate women, ranked No. 5 in the latest NWAC Alaska Airlines Coaches Poll, went 9-4 in non-conference play and will tip off North Division play against the 1-11 Tritons at Edmonds at 2 p.m. Saturday.

The Pirate men, who placed third in the NWAC in 2014-15 season, went 7-7 in non-conference action. They will take on 2014-15 NWAC runner-up Triton men, 11-2, at 4 p.m. Saturday.

Jenise McKnight

PORT ANGELES – The 2015 Battle in the Olympics title went to Lane, but the Pirates will go into the Christmas break with visions of a repeat NWAC championship still dancing in their heads.

The Peninsula women, ranked No. 4, fell to top-ranked Lane in Saturday’s eight-team NWAC North Region Women’s Crossover Tournament championship, but PC fans can look for that setback to further motivate the defending NWAC champs to get another crack at the unbeaten Titans at the NWAC Tournament in March.

Lane took home the first-place trophy in their first trip to Peninsula under 17-year head coach Greg Sheley, the Pirates placed second, Centralia was third and Spokane fourth.

The Battle in the Olympics All-Tournament Team included MVP Shelby Snook of Lane, Gabby Heehn of Lane, Cierra Moss of Peninsula, Susan Kenney of Centralia, Khadija Neumeyer of Spokane, and Max Shelley of Big Bend. The Most Inspirational Award went to Krista Johnson of South Puget Sound.

Championship: Lane 84, Peninsula 53

The Pirates needed their “A Game” for all four quarters in order to beat the Titans in the second rematch since Peninsula defeated Lane in the NWAC title game last March, but they managed only one quarter Saturday.

Peninsula bolted out to a 24-16 lead at the end of one, but Lane rallied to outscore the hosts 19-9 in the second to lead 35-33 at the break. The Titans then poured it on in the second half, capitalizing on a cold-shooting Pirate team to win going away.

The PC women shot 23 percent from the floor, only 3/25 for 12 percent from beyond the arc, and only 64 percent from the free throw line. Lane, meanwhile, hit on 42 percent from the field, was 10/29 from three-point range for 34 percent and hit 71 percent from the line.

Peninsula was led by Cierra Moss, who finished with 17 points, 11 of those coming from the free throw line. Lane held Peninsula’s leading scorer to only three field goals on 26 attempts. Zhara Laster had 11 points and 11 rebounds and Jenise McKnight added eight off the bench.

Lane’s Snook poured in 32, hitting 4/9 from three-point range, 16 from Heehn, 12 from Bre DuBois and 10 from Jordan Kimbrough.

Cierra Moss

PORT ANGELES – The Pirates, who fell from No. 1 to No. 4 in the latest Alaska Airlines Northwest Athletic Conference Coaches’ Poll, advanced to Saturday’s championship game at the Battle in the Olympics, North Region Women’s Crossover Tournament, against unbeaten and now top-ranked Lane.

The Peninsula women rolled to a 60-47 win over North Bend in Friday’s eight-team tournament semifinal round at the Pirate gym.

Lane pulled away from Centralia in the second half to win its semifinal 92-64.

The tournament championship tips off at 4 p.m. Today’s other games feature Spokane vs. South Puget Sound at noon for fourth and sixth places and Centralia vs. Big Bend for third and fifth.

Cherish Moss

PORT ANGELES – After opening the season with 10 straight road games, a huge home crowd helped lift the defending NWAC champion Pirates to a 64-45 win over South Puget Sound in Game 4 of the Battle in the Olympics, 2015 NWAC North Region Crossover Tournament.

The PC women didn’t exactly bolt out of the gates, trailing 11-10 after a low-scoring first quarter, but they then outscored the Clippers 21-6 in the second to lead 31-17 at halftime – and the rest of the game was all Pirates.

Cierra Moss led all scorers with 15 points in only 28 minutes, Imani Smith had 11, Alicia Dugan nine, and Zhara Laster contributed four points, 13 rebounds and four assists. Coach Alison Crumb was able to play all of her available players.

South Puget Sound was led by Krista Johnson with 12 points, Savannah McGill with 10 points and 11 rebounds, and 10 points from Laura James.

Today’s games feature Spokane vs. Shoreline at 1 p.m. and Portland vs. South Puget Sound at 3 p.m. in the consolation round, and then Lane vs. Centralia at 5 p.m. and Big Bend vs. Peninsula at 7 p.m. in the winner’s bracket.

Check out photos of this game on Facebook.

Zhara Laster

LAKEWOOD – The Peninsula College women’s basketball team concluded a stretch of 10 road games at the Pierce Holiday Classic Sunday, where the Northwest Athletic Conference’s top-ranked team was roughed up a bit in a field of perennial NWAC powers.

The Pirates blew out Tacoma 72-55 in Friday’s tournament opener, but the defending NWAC champs then fell to second-ranked Lane 82-72 in a rematch of the 2015 NWAC championship game on Saturday, before suffering a 65-57 setback to North Division rival Bellevue on Sunday.

Next up, the Peninsula women (7-3) will make their 2015-16 home debut at Battle in the Olympics, the NWAC North Region Crossover Tournament, an eight-team women’s basketball tournament that runs Thursday through Saturday at the Peninsula College gym. Thursday’s action begins with Spokane vs. Lane at 1 p.m., Centralia vs. Shoreline at 3, Big Bend vs. Portland at 5 and the Pirates hosting South Puget Sound at 7.

Admission to the tournament is $6 per day for adults, $4 for seniors (55-over), veterans and youth 13-17, and free to PC students and children 12-under. Games continue from 1 p.m. through 7 p.m. Friday and the tournament championship is set for 4 p.m. Saturday.

The Pirates will hope to regroup from the Pierce Holiday Tournament, where they played well Friday and Saturday, but struggled on Sunday. PC sophomore Zhara Laster was named to the All-Tournament Team.

WENATCHEE – The Peninsula College women, ranked No. 1 in the first Northwest Athletic Association’s women’s basketball coaches’ poll, saw their win streak end at 19 Sunday on the third day of a rigorous Eastern Washington road trip in a 77-64 loss to fourth-ranked Wenatchee on the Knights’ home floor.

The defending NWAC champion Pirates defeated 2014 NWAC champion Columbia Basin 96-91 on Friday, and then got by seventh-ranked Walla Walla 72-65 on the Warriors’ court on Saturday before running out of steam at No. 4 Wenatchee on the way home Sunday.

To say the Pirates non-conference schedule is loaded with high-quality opponents and back-to-back games would be an understatement.

Next up for Peninsula, now 6-1 on the season, is a 2 p.m. Friday match-up against Tacoma in the opening game of the Pierce Holiday Invitational, a three-day tournament in Lakewood. The Pirates make their home debut at the 2015 North Region Women’s Crossover Tournament, an eight-team bracket, set for Dec. 17-19 at Peninsula.

PORT ANGELES – The defending Northwest Athletic Conference women’s basketball champions started the 2015-16 season almost exactly the way they finished the last one.

Winning four straight games in four straight days – on the road.

The Peninsula College women’s basketball team rolled through the weekend with four non-conference victories, three of those against the top three finishers from the West Division in 2014-15.

The Pirates tipped off the defense of their NWAC title with a 68-47 romp over Highline at Tacoma on Friday and then returned to the Titon gym Saturday where they crushed the home team, 81-59. They then traveled south to Longview where they surprised the defending West champion Lower Columbia Red Devils 72-51 on Sunday before rolling back up Interstate-5 on Monday for a 69-55 win over last year’s West runner-up, Centralia.

That season-opening road trip extended Peninsula’s winning streak to 17 games.

Next up for the Pirates is a road trip across the mountains where coach Ali Crumb and her team will take on three very strong teams from the NWAC’s East Division. The PC women play Columbia Basin and Walla Walla, at Walla Walla, Dec. 4 and 5, and then make a stop in Wenatchee on the way home on Dec. 6.

PORT ANGELES – The Peninsula College men’s basketball team opens its 2015-16 season with a pair of home games this weekend, while the Pirate women will begin the defense of their Northwest Athletic Conference title with a four-day, four-game road trip.

College basketball fans will get to see the Pirate men tip-off the new year at home against Big Bend at 7 p.m. Friday in a game that will have all the feel of the NWAC post season.

The Vikings went 23-9 last year to win the NWAC East Division, but were surprisingly two-and-out at the 2015 NWAC Basketball Championships. The Pirates, meanwhile, went 7-7 in conference play, narrowly qualifying for the tournament, but then surprised the field, winning three of four games to bring home a third-place NWAC trophy. They went 17-13 overall.

Coach Ali Crumb

PORT ANGELES – The Peninsula College women were the Cinderella Story of the 2015 Northwest Athletic Conference Basketball Championships where the Pirates surprised the field to win the first women’s basketball title in school history – and this year’s team has every intention of doing that again.

However, if they do, it won’t be a surprise.

Ali Crumb, a Port Angeles native, enters her seventh year as head coach of the Pirates – and the 2014-15 NWAC Coach of the Year says it’s a new team and a new year and she’s talking about competing more than repeating.

“The last thing we want to do is ride the coat tails of last year,” Crumb said. “This is a new year, and at this level, you lose half your team every year. So this is not going to be the same team, but we will have the same goals.”

“We want to compete every day in practice, we want to respect the game and each other, and we want to be a position to win a championship at the end of the season,” she added. “Beyond that, everything else is new, and that makes it exciting. It’s been fun to really relish in our recent success, but at the end of the day it doesn’t get you anywhere. We have to put in the work to get results for this year. That’s all we are worried about right now. Repeat is something we don’t talk about. We just talk about competing.”

PORT ANGELES – Four members of the 2015 NWAC championship Pirate team recently signed to continue their collegiate careers at the next level.