Ryan Bragdon leads NNU to win over College of Idaho

NAMPA, Idaho - Now it's official. First-year Crusaders coach Ryan Bragdon enjoyed his first unofficial win Friday, but as an exhibition, that victory didn't count. So, he had to patiently wait for that first official win, and his Northwest Nazarene women's basketball team provided it in style Tuesday night, rolling over long-time rival The College of Idaho, 94-77, at the Johnson Sports Center on the NNU campus.

"It feels great," Bragdon said of career win No. 1 "A wins a win, I'll take any win."

The win came thanks to another great offensive night that saw NNU (1-0 overall) hit 50.7 percent (37-of-73) from the field, overcoming to the 3-point barrage unleashed by the Coyotes (0-4), who played the game as an exhibition.

"Second game in a row everyone scored," Bragdon said, as every NNU player scored in the Crusaders 83-82 exhibition win over Eastern Oregon on Friday. NNU shot 53.8 percent in that win.

"Efficient is the word I would use to describe it," he added. "People go in and they know how to score and they do it."

Early on, the Coyotes knew how to score, too, hitting six 3-pointers to build a 26-21 lead.

But the efficient NNU offense just kept clicking away, unfazed by the 16 3-pointers The C of I sank in the ballgame.

"Our goal from day one, the No. 1 thing we talk about is points in the paint and free throws, an opponent's free throws and points in the paint," Bragdon said. "We gave up 10 points in the paint only 7-of-8 from the free-throw line. Those are very good accomplishments."

Statistics magnified when the Yotes missed 3s as the Crusaders kept on scoring to go on run after run, like an 8-0 run capped by two Cierra White free throws that put NNU up for good, 29-26.

The Crusaders stretched the margin to 42-31 on a Veronika Skokankova bucket, eventually taking a 46-34 advantage into the locker room.

NNU stretched the lead to 50-36 early in the second half, but the Yotes whittled the difference down to 61-57 on a Dayna Drager bucket.
Unfazed, the Crusaders answered with a 7-0 run that finally broke the game open as they cruised to the 17-point.

Along with being the first win of Bragdon's career, the victory also improved NNU's record all-time against the Yotes to 24-4 and stretched the Crusaders win streak to seven straight over their Canyon County rivals.

Megan Hingston led the way for NNU - which for the second straight game had every player score at least a point - with 27 points, while Chelsie Luke scored 21 in her first game of the season.

Kylee Schierman added six points, 12 rebounds and six assists for the Crusaders, who return to the court Friday when they host Fresno Pacific at 7 p.m.

Erica Martinez, who hit six 3-pointers, led the Coyotes with 22 points.