Bears Send Vikings Sailing with Strong Finish 

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Tatum West (pictured) was crucial in the Bears win against the Vikings.

As Freshman Tatum West scored a mid-range two-pointer to increase the Bears lead in the third quarter, the game had slipped away from the Vikings.  

The last two quarters were a nightmare for the Vikings as the shots weren’t falling for them. Momentum began to quickly shift to the side of the Bears. 

It was smooth sailing for UNC in the last two quarters as they defeated Portland State 65-48. The win gives the team their sixth big sky conference win. With the win, UNC moves to 11-12 overall on the season. 

The final score might indicate that the Bears were in cruise control for the game, but the first half was a different story for UNC. 

The first two quarters were up and down for UNC as they started strong in the first, scoring 26 points to Portland States’ 18 points. A cold spell struck the Bears in the second quarter, scoring only eight points compared to the Vikings’ eleven points.  

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UNC had shot close to 53% in the first quarter as a team. In the second quarter, they only shot at 23%. Multiple opportunities to capitalize on easy shots were difficult for the team. 

Coach Kristen Mattio noticed the struggles the Bears were having throughout the second quarter. 

“We had one-on-one in the paint, and we missed some easy ones at the rim,” Mattio said. 

The struggles would soon end once the third quarter began. The defense for UNC had stepped up in a big way. They kept Portland State to only five points in the third quarter. 

For both quarters, the Vikings were held to only 19 points, very different from the 34 points from the beginning. 

West was optimistic about her play on the court. 

“I have coaches and teammates around me that are constantly bringing out that confidence for me to do what I do,” West said. 

West led the team in points with 20, matching a season high from the previous game against Montana. Junior Lana Wegner led Portland State with 12 points. 

On the defensive side, the Bears collected 40 rebounds as a team compared to the Vikings 25 rebounds. 11 were offensive rebounds, leading to 11 second chance points. 

Coach Mattio was happy with the aggressiveness from the team’s 11 offensive rebounds.  

“Our challenge is to be more aggressive,” Mattio said. “That was the big separator for us.”  

UNC dominated on the inside with 30 points from the paint, showing the crowd the toughness of the players. Aside from the points in paint were 21 fastbreak points, showing the quickness they had coming off possessions. 

At the line, they were dominant making 16-18 in free throws with the percentage being 88%. As a team, the Bears recovered from a lowly second quarter, shooting 42% to close out the game. 

The Vikings will travel to play Northern Arizona Saturday at 2 p.m. at the J. Lawrence Walkup Skydome. The Bears will host Sacramento State at 2 p.m. on Saturday at the Bank of Colorado Arena.

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