Bulldogs bite not strong enough in Spokane

Source: NWAACC.org

The Bellevue College men and women’s basketball teams travelled east to Spokane for the March 3-6 NWAACC basketball tournament. The Bulldog women (24-6 overall) qualified as a number two seed, while the men (23-7 overall) were a number three seed.
The women started off the tournament with a loss to the Clackamas Cougars that by all accounts was a well-played game. Bellevue forward TyShana Burgess and guard Kelsey Sparks each added 19 points to the losing effort. Cougars, which was ahead 37-35 at halftime, was able to pull away in the second because of numerous opportunities at the free throw line. The Cougars outscored Bellevue 18-5 in free throw points, leading to a 74-65 win for the Cougars.
The following day, a motivated Bellevue women’s team ploughed through the overmatched Tacoma Titans on route to a 74-55 victory. Bellevue, once again led by Sparks scoring, dominated the Titans by shooting a quality 48 percent from the field and overpowered the Titans on the offensive and defensive boards. However, the biggest difference in the game came from Bellevue’s ability to create 23 points off of Titan’s turnovers.
The ladies again played well against the Centralia Trailblazers, beating them 71-49 before entering the final day of the tournament to face the Umpqua Riverhawks. Playing their fourth game in as many days, the Bulldog women finished off their trip to Spokane with a 68-45 victory over the Riverhawks. Led behind 16 points from sophomore forward Sandra Milovic, the Bulldogs pulled out to an early 38-20 first half lead. Bellevue continued to pour it on in the second half while dominating second chance points and points off turnovers. The Riverhawks were ice cold from the field, only shooting a dismal 27 percent as a team.
With the win, the Bulldog women wrapped up their season with a seventh place finish in the tournament.
Before the tournament began, men’s head coach Jeremy Eggers was excited about his team’s chances this year, saying that this year’s squad was one of the deepest he’s ever coached. Unfortunately, things didn’t go as hoped for the Bulldog men in Spokane.
It started with a 94-84 loss to the Chemeketa Storm, who eventually went on to lose to Tacoma in the championship game. Bellevue trailed by only one point at halftime, but the Storm were able to pull away in the second half behind a brutally balanced offensive attack that featured six players with more than 11 points. Bellevue’s Jonathan Humphrie added 35 points in the loss.
Bellevue then won a nail-biter game against the Clark Penguins 74-71. The Bulldogs held a commanding 40-28 halftime lead, but the Penguins came storming back to score 43 second-half points. Bellevue was able to hold off the comeback with their superb 41 percent shooting from beyond the three-point arc.
The Bulldogs proceeded to thump Clackamas 75-56 before facing a well-known rival in Shoreline. Bellevue and Shoreline finished third and fourth in the North Division this season and split their two regular season meetings, with Bellevue winning the final meeting in February 116-85.
A Shoreline team looking to rectify their embarrassing loss earlier in the season squeaked out a win over Bellevue 92-88. Despite a fantastic shooting effort from Bellevue, Shoreline was able to take advantage of the Bulldogs’ sloppy play and turnovers. The loss ended the men’s season, designating them eighth place in the tournament.
While both teams hoped for more in the postseason tournament, we extend our congratulations to the men and women’s teams on a great season, and look forward to watching them play next year.