After making the playoffs in 2019 with an 18-6 record, the women’s basketball team is off to another strong start, going 5-1 in their first six games. Their only loss was a 73-58 opening day drop to the currently 5-1 Whatcom. They never let anybody get to 62 points again, let alone that 73 marks that beat them.
The first game of the week was a narrow 56-51 win over Skagit Valley on April 24, heavily featuring a shootout between Bellevue’s Katie Ruthledge and Skagit’s Grace Shaddle. While Shaddle did technically win the battle with 23 points to Ruthledge’s 22, everything else was tilted towards the Bulldogs. Shaddle’s 23 points came on a less-than-stellar 9-29 shooting, including 2-8 from three. Ruthledge made the same amount of shots but only took 14, giving her the massive efficiency edge.
The team play was all Bellevue as well. Skagit came away with 32 total rebounds during the game, with 25 of them coming from three players. Meanwhile, Bellevue brought in 38 total rebounds, with no players going above the two sevens from Mckayla Rodriguez and Brianna Byrnes. Every single player who recorded a minute of game time had at least one rebound. Skagit did have a massive edge in steals (15 to BC’s five), but that only led to them taking and missing more shots which dipped them down to a 32.8 field goal percentage.
Riding into last Wednesday, they rode a four-game win streak and proceeded to dominate Peninsula 67-51, including a second-quarter where BC outscored them 17-6. Mo Bungay was the star of the show this time, putting up 22 points on 7-19 shooting. The only other two to crack double digits were Adyson Clabby who didn’t play in the Skagit game and Brianna Byrnes off the bench.
The box score wouldn’t necessarily tell the story of a dominant victory. Peninsula led in rebounds 37-22 and shot an impressive 45 percent as a team. However, of Bellevue’s 26 makes, 12 were three-pointers, whereas Peninsula only made one. The three-point gap was massive, with BC scoring 36 points from deep on 42.9 percent while Peninsula scored three points on nine percent.
Bellevue carved out two different ways to win games and while they’re far from perfect, they’re in a good position to keep the ball rolling. They make the most three-pointers per game in the NWAC at 9.3 and also hold their opponents to 22 percent from three-point range, which ranks second.
While Bellevue has currently split the Whatcom season series 1-1, they have clean 1-0s over Peninsula and Olympic and a 2-0 over Skagit Valley. Whatcom is going to be the team for them to beat coming up as they play again on May 26, and their next rematches versus Skagit and Peninsula are on May 12 and May 15 respectively. The next best team behind the two juggernauts is Peninsula at 2-3, meaning it is basically a two-horse race for who can win it all.