YAKIMA — The Walla Walla women’s basketball team had its hands full with Yakima Valley’s Paige Albrecht on Wednesday.
Albrecht dropped a game-high 30 points on the strength of six 3-pointers to lift the Yaks past the Warriors 52-47. Walla Walla head coach Bobbi Hazeltine said the Warriors did a good job of containing Albrecht in the first half, but could not keep up with her after halftime.
“For some reason we weren’t aware of where she was,” Hazeltine said. “That’s hard to swallow because that’s a mistake that’s easily corrected. We have to find their best player and we didn’t.”
The remainder of the Yakima Valley roster went only 4-of-39 as only one other Yak finished in double figures. Hazeltine said the Warriors’ defensive game plan focused on stopping Albrecht and allowing her teammates to do the scoring.
“We play percentages and that was our game plan to let the other girls beat us,” Hazeltine said. “It was working for a long time and then they moved her around in the second half a little bit more and we just lost her. That’s the part I couldn’t understand.”
The game was close the whole way, as neither team was up more than four points. But Walla Walla had a tough time converting good looks into points, Hazeltine said.
The Warriors shot only 30 percent in the game including a dismal 2-of-15 from 3-point range. The Yaks didn’t do any better from the floor — Yakima Valley shot 27 percent — but their eight 3-pointers made the difference.
“We had a chance to tie it a couple times in the last minute and we just missed shots,” Hazeltine said. “You’re going to have games like that and you have to hope your defense keeps you in it.”
Bailey Nygaard finished with a team-high 17 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists and two steals. Nygaard, a freshman, also dropped 33 points in the Warriors win against Blue Mountain last week.
“Bailey’s had back-to-back really good games for us,” Hazeltine said. “The fact that she’s a freshman, it makes it nice and surprising at the same time. She’s playing really well. She always plays hard and she always competes. I’m happy for her and how she’s playing. Hopefully some of the other girls can jump on her back and do the same thing.”
Walla Walla’s foul trouble also played a major role in the loss. Posts MeShel Rad, Jessica Siler and Amy DeLong all picked up fouls during the first half, which forced Hazeltine to use bench units without much game experience.
In the second half, Yakima Valley took advantage of the Warriors’ short-handed interior defense.
“Usually two of them were on the bench in the second half,” Hazeltine said. “Those are three sophomores we need out there against their big lineup. They fouled and made some fouls they probably shouldn’t have made. We’re going to struggle if those three are sitting on the bench.”
Both Siler and Rad finished with nine points apiece. Siler also hauled in a team-high eight rebounds.
The Warriors return to the court against Wenatchee Valley on Saturday. Walla Walla also squares off with Treasure Valley on Monday after the game was postponed due to weather last weekend.
Yakima Valley 52, WWCC 47
YAKIMA VALLEY (52) — Keffeler 0-1 0-0 0, Albrecht 12-20 0-0 30, Creager 2-8 5-6 10, Cordova 0-7 2-2 2, Musgrave 1-11 4-6 6, Dixon 1-8 1-2 4, Zimmer 0-2 0-0 0, Iosia 0-0 0-0 0, Ferguson 0-2 0-1 0. Totals 16-59 12-17 52.
WALLA WALLA (47) — McHone 1-5 2-4 5, Johnson 0-3 1-2 1, Corbett 0-0 0-0 0, Jordan 1-4 0-0 2, Davis 0-1 0-0 0, DeLong 0-4 1-4 1, Nygaard 5-16 6-6 17, Rad 4-8 1-2 9, Vincent 1-1 1-2 3, Siler 3-7 3-4 9, Stefanski 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 15-50, 15-24 47.
Halftime score — Yak 23, WWCC 25. 3-point goals — Yak 8 (Albrecht 6), WWCC 2 (McHone, Nygaard). Total fouls — Yak 18, WWCC 21. Fouled out — WWCC (Siler). Technical fouls — none. Total rebounds — Yak 39 (Albrecht 8), WWCC 46 (Siler 8). Turnovers — Yak 12, WWCC 12. Assists — Yak 12 (Dixon 7), WWCC 5 (Nygaard 3).