Rath’s View: What a way to play on Senior Night

Traditionally, the last game of the season at home is considered Senior Night where the fans get to celebrate the careers of the seniors.  Thursday night was that night for the Bears as they celebrated the careers of Shaylise Fernander and Savannah Smith.  Smith has been a starter all season and Fernander would get her first start of the season.  As the fans celebrated off court, the Bears went to work on court to celebrate in their own way.

The Bears took out fast on the Thunderbirds from Southern Utah from the start and never looked back, leading from wire to wire and coming away with a 88 to 71 victory to gather their 20th victory of the season.  That 20th win is the third season in a row for the Bears as they look to go into the Big Sky tournament playing some of their best ball.

It was a great night on the court for the Bears, especially for the two seniors.  Shaylise Fernander set a new career high in scoring, putting 14 points on the board to go with her 8 rebounds.  She seemed to be everywhere and was the recipient of many great passes as she played in front of the home crowd for the last time.  For Savannah Smith it was a different kind of night for her.  She shot just 3 of 12 from behind the arc but was 12 of 25 from the floor and only got to the free throw line one time.  It was a quiet 28 points for Savvy, as she led the Bears in scoring.  She finished the night with 28 points, 3 rebounds, 8 assists, and 5 steals.  Like I said, a quiet night for Savannah.

The Bears finished the night with 4 players in double-digits.  The 28 from Smith, 14 from Fernander, and adding in her own 10 was Ali Meyer, and 23 from Alexis Chapman.  Chapman would finish the night shooting 6 of 7 from behind the three-point line and 8 of 15 from the floor to score her career tying 23.  For Meyer, she finished one rebound shy of another double-double, coming away with 9 boards and 3 assists.  As a team, the Bears shot 58% from the floor and 50% from behind the three-point line while allowing the Thunderbirds to shoot 45% from the floor.

The Bears wrap up their regular season campaign on the road against Northern Arizona on Saturday before they head to Boise for the tournament.  As of now, the Bears have wrapped up the #2 spot at worst, but with a win on Saturday and an Idaho loss to Idaho State the Bears would jump into the #1 spot and take a share of the Big Sky regular season championship as they would split it with Idaho.  Read more about this game at uncbears.com.

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