LAS VEGAS -- The Lady Blues trailed most of the game against No. 20 Western Washington but a quick start to the second half gave them a six-point lead that they eventually gave back in a 64-62 loss Tuesday in the first game of the South Point Holiday Hoops Classic.
No. 6 Washburn (6-1) fell for the first time and will play No. 24 Wisconsin-Parkside Wednesday at 12 p.m. Central to wrap up action in Las Vegas. The Rangers dropped their first game at South Point Arena to Grand Canyon and are 4-2.
Laura Kinderknecht hit a 3-pointer with six seconds remaining to get the Lady Blues within two. They then let five seconds tick away after the Viking inbounds pass before they fouled. WWU's Corinn Waltrip missed both free throws with under a second on the clock but Washburn was not able to get a final shot off.
Lavonda McCall led the Lady Blues with a career-high 20 points as she went 7 for 15 from the field. Tiara George went 8 of 10 from the field for 16 points and Kinderknecht ended with 10 points. George led Washburn with eight rebounds and McCall led with five assists.
The Lady Blues trailed for most of the first half. A shot from George at 12:22 gave Washburn its only lead of the half. The Vikings responded and pushed their lead back as high as eight during the period. An 8-2 run to end the half for Washburn cut the lead to 28-26 and then Washburn scored nine of the first 13 points in the second half to go up by three, 32-25 with 15:20 to play. A lay-up from Sierra Moeller at the 10 minute mark pushed the lead to five and Bianca Fennessee made it a game-high six, 46-40 with a free throw at 8:53.
The Vikings answered with five straight and 10 of the next 14 to go up 56-50 with 6:12 remaining.Kinderknecht answered with a 3 right after that but the Lady Blues trailed by multiple possessions after that until Moeller hit a lay-up with 47 seconds left to cut the WWU lead back to three. The Vikings hit one more free throw before Kinderknecht's 3-pointer that got Washburn within two ended up being the final points of the game.
The Vikings, who were ranked in the top 10 before losing two straight in their last outting, improved to 7-2. Britt Harris led her team with 27 points, going 10 of 19 from the field and 7 of 9 from the free throw line. The Lady Blues shot 56 percent in the second half from the field but were out-done by WWU's 14 free throws in the second half to Washburn's six.
Washburn shot 44 percent overall in the game while the Vikings shot 39 percent. Both teams were 4 of 14 (29 percent) from 3-point range.