ASHLAND, Ore. – Senior Sammi Clark (Monroe, Wash./Monroe HS/Edmonds CC) put up a team-high 22 points and senior Jessica Denmon (Oak Harbor, Wash./Oak Harbor HS/Skagit Valley CC) earned the double-double but the Evergreen Geoducks couldn’t advance in the conference tournament, falling to the Southern Oregon Raiders, 80-70, in the first round of the Cascade Conference Women’s Basketball Championships presented by U.S. Bank.
The Geoducks battled early as the teams traded the lead four times in the opening half as both squads looks evenly matched. After Brittany Gray (Bainbridge Island, Wash./Bainbridge HS/Skagit Valley CC) sunk a pair of free throws with 3:30 remaining in the first half, Southern Oregon would shut Evergreen out the rest of the way, just a 7-0 run to end the period and take a 37-28 lead into the break.
In the second half, the Geoducks cut the deficit to just three points less than two minutes in but after a Southern Oregon timeout, the Raiders used their size to go on a 12-0 run and push the lead to 15 points at 49-34 with 14:25 left to play. The Geoducks fought back and pulled the differential back into single digits on a number of occasions but in the end, it was simply too much to overcome as Southern Oregon advance in the tournament with an 80-70 win.
The loss ends the 13-year career of Evergreen head coach Monica Heuer, who announced earlier this month that this season would be her last leading the Geoducks. Assistant coach Jennifer Schooler takes over as interim head coach as Heuer will move into a full-time administrative role, continuing her position as assistant athletic director.
Evergreen was led by the 22 points from Clark, who was nine-of-24 from the field in her final collegiate game as she ended her career with 969 points in three seasons as a Geoduck, also chalking up a school-record 290 assists. Denmon added 12 points to go with 14 rebounds as the 5-6 guard earned her fourth double-double of the season. LaNiecia Weatherspoon (Seattle, Wash./Garfield HS/Yakima Valley CC) added 10 points off the bench but was whistled for five turnovers on the night.
Southern Oregon was led by 30 points from Autumn Durand. Ashley Clausen added 14 points while Cambie Edwards put up 13 points in the win. Reigning conference player of the week Allison Gida was held to just two points but she did her damage on the glass, bringing down 12 rebounds as SOU held a 56-41 rebounding advantage. With the win, the Raiders advance to the CCC semifinals on Friday where they will play at top-seed Eastern Oregon.
The Geoducks conclude the 2013-14 season with a record of 14-12 overall and 10-8 in CCC play. The number of wins is second in school history while the season is the most successful in school history in terms of winning percentage at .538.