Players, coaches, and fans participated in the yearly pink game and seniors night on Saturday, which drew probably the biggest crowd of the season. Two of the Clan’s most important players, Ellen Kett and Meg Wilson, played their last game in front of the home crowd at Simon Fraser. The fans let them know they’ll be missed, as posters for both players could be seen around the gymnasium.
“I thought I was going to be way more emotional,” said Kett after the game, but right from the tip-off, all distractions went away. Simon Fraser was playing Alaska Anchorage, the number two ranked team in the nation and first in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference (GNAC) with a perfect conference record.
The game began fittingly, as Kett hit an open three off of a Wilson assist for Simon Fraser’s first basket of the game. By the end of the first quarter, however, the Clan was down 15–11. Although both teams already had their playoff seed locked, it was obvious that Alaska Anchorage wished to finish with a perfect record, and Simon Fraser wanted to play spoiler.
Not even halfway into the second quarter, the game had already presented four jump balls, and things got scrappy. Kett and Wilson were both critical in a 10–3 run that was capped off by a Meg Wilson three, and gave the Clan a 31–27 lead. Alaska Anchorage regained the lead by half, however, and the teams went into the break with a score of 38–33 for the visitors.
Kett and Wilson both performed well for the fans and their families in the first half, as they led the game with 11 and nine points, respectively.
Simon Fraser came out of the half ready to play, retaking the lead by the 8:40 mark in the third quarter. They extended this lead to as much as 10 off of a Kett three that made the score 59–49, with a bit more than three minutes to go in the quarter. At this point, Kett was forced to rest to get ready for the fourth quarter, and Alaska Anchorage took advantage. By the end of the quarter, the lead was cut to five.
A Tayla Jackson layup with 5:58 left in the final frame marked the first basket Simon Fraser had scored in over seven minutes of game time. With 3:46 left in the quarter, Autumn Williams hit a huge three for the Seawolves, which made the score 66–64 for the visitors. The game went down to the wire, but a dagger three by Tara Thompson, and good free throw shooting down the stretch, gave Alaska Anchorage the 77–72 victory.
Both seniors showed their importance to the team, as Meg Wilson led the team with 18 points, and Kett had 14 points and 11 assists, as well as an uncharacteristic 10 turnovers. “I thought the seniors did well,” said coach Bruce Langford after the game.
This game was bigger than basketball, however, and Kett was positive after a disappointing loss. “I’m really happy with the turnout — [there are] a lot of fans here, so hopefully we raised a lot of money as well,” said Kett, who played a big part in the organization of the fundraiser.
Even after an emotional game, Simon Fraser is already looking forward to the postseason. “We still have a lot of our season left. We want to go far in the GNAC championship and as big of a run as we can in nationals,” said Kett.
“The [players] have got to feel good about big parts of their game tonight,” said Langford, as the Clan gets ready to play in the GNAC championships.
Next Game: Simon Fraser will go into the postseason as the third seed in the GNAC and will play the sixth-seeded Central Washington University Wildcats in the quarter-finals. The two teams split the season series, as both teams won the away game. The Wildcats have the fourth-best scoring defence in the conference, and have the top rebounder in Taylor Baird, who averages 8.6 rebounds per game.
Tip-off is on March 2 at 12 p.m.