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Women's Basketball News

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.

PORT ANGELES – Peninsula College’s Alison Crumb was named Northwest Athletic Conference Women’s Basketball Coach of the Year.

Crumb, a Port Angeles native, guided her Pirates to an NWAC championship in March, the first in the history of women’s basketball at Peninsula College.

“This award is very deserving,” said Rick Ross, Director of Athletics. “Ali has worked very hard for five years to build her program and I’m thrilled that her fellow coaches in the NWAC voted to recognize her growth and her success.”

Crumb’s 2014-15 Pirates went 13-1 in North Division play to capture Peninsula’s second North championship in school history, the first coming in 2005 when the Port Angeles graduate started at point guard for the Pirates. Her team went 23-5 overall, including four straight wins at the 2015 NWAC Women’s Basketball Championship Tournament at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.

The Pirates were ranked No. 4 in the Final Alaska Airlines NWAC Coaches Poll, but they upset top-ranked Umpqua in the semifinals and then defeated sixth-ranked Lane, a team that beat the Pirates twice earlier in the season, in the championship game.

KENNEWICK – The Peninsula Pirates rode a wave of determination, talent, and unselfish team play through four rounds of a heavyweight fight at the Toyota Center, knocking out all four opponents by double figures, to win the first Northwest Athletic Conference championship in Peninsula College women’s basketball history.

Head coach Alison Crumb quietly wept as her players celebrated near center court Tuesday following their 85-75 win over heavily-favored Lane.

“The girls played tough the entire season,” Crumb said. “I think our toughness and depth showed during the end of games when we needed it. We hung around until we could find an opportunity to take over – and that is a winning quality.”

The NWAC North Division Coach of the Year also talked about the chemistry this team has.

“The girls believe in each other and will be connected forever,” she said. “I’m so proud of this team and the coaching staff. We may have been the only ones back in September who knew we would be in that moment, but that’s all that matters.”

Peninsula College will celebrate “that moment” at 2 p.m. Friday in the Pirate Union Building where President Dr. Luke Robins will host a ceremony that will feature both the NWAC champion women’s team and the third-place men’s team.

The championship victory was the 17th straight for the Pirates, who became the first North Division women’s team to win the NWAC championship since it came to the Toyota Center in Kennewick 14 years ago.

Sophomore Madison Pilster was named the Tournament Most Valuable Player, freshman Zhara Laster made the All-Tournament First Team and Gabi Fenumiai was All-Tournament Second Team.

Peninsula finished 23-5 overall and 13-1 in North Division play, and became the seventh Pirate team in five years to win an NWAC championship. Since the 2010-11 year, the College has captured three men’s soccer titles, two women’s soccer titles, a men’s basketball title, and now its first women’s basketball championship award to add to the trophy case. The NWAC is comprised of 35 community colleges from Washington and Oregon.

PORT ANGELES – Head coach Alison Crumb has come full circle.

Her Pirates captured the 2015 North Division championship last week, marking the first time a Peninsula College women’s basketball team has done that since she donned a Pirate jersey herself back in 2005.

This year’s team, however, won the title with a 13-1 conference record, the best ever in the 17-year history of the program. The Pirates also rose to No. 4 in the final Alaska Airlines Coaches Poll, the highest ranking ever for a PC women’s basketball team.

“To win the North as a player and coach just shows how much of an impact Peninsula College has had on my collegiate, and now coaching, career,” Crumb said. “I’m very thankful to have had the opportunity to play here and extremely thankful to begin my coaching career here. It’s very humbling to look back and think of all the memories that I have been a part of at Peninsula College. It’s had a profound impact on my life and I’m just very grateful.”

Her players too are grateful.

They take a 19-5 overall record into the NWAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed from the North, meeting first-time NWAC Tournament-qualifier Portland (6-6, 13-13) at 8 p.m. Saturday at the Toyota Center in Kennewick.