McMINNVILLE, Ore. - The Northwest Conference’s top-scoring defense lived up to its billing Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium, as Puget Sound held Linfield to 41.5 percent shooting on its way to a 69-62 win.
The Loggers, who came into the game allowing just 52.7 points per game, came up with clutch defensive possessions in the closing seconds.
Puget Sound (12-3, 5-1 NWC) got off to a fast start, building an early 12-4 lead on a Taylor Jones 3-pointer at the 14:47 mark. The Loggers shot the ball well from beyond the arc during the first half, knocking down 6-of-13 shots from deep.
Linfield (8-6, 3-3 NWC) answered back with a 13-3 run over the ensuing 6:06. Stephanie Fennimore scored four of six points on consecutive layups to cap off the spurt.
With the scored knotted up at 20 with 4:11 remaining in the half, the Loggers rolled off nine-straight points. Jocelyn Riordan’s jumper with 1:54 on the clock put the Loggers up 29-20.
The Wildcats trimmed the deficit to as little as three, before the Loggers took the wind out of their sails with a 3-pointer at the buzzer. Jones banked in a 3-pointer from just left of the circle to give Puget Sound a 34-28 lead heading into intermission.
With the help of a three-point play from Kaely Maltman, the ‘Cats clawed their way to within three points early in the second half. Unable to get even, the ‘Cats saw the game slowly slipping away after a 3-pointer from Riordan at the 6:51 mark gave the Loggers a 59-49 advantage.
Refusing to go away quietly, Linfield responded with a 10-3 run. Gretchen Owens sparked the Wildcats with four points and an assist during the run, trimming the Puget Sound lead to 62-59 with 3:04 remaining.
The Loggers kept their poise, taking a 66-59 advantage on baskets from Riordan and Val Middlton. Owens kept the ‘Cats within striking distance with a 3-pointer of her own, leaving the Loggers with a 66-62 lead with 1:40 on the clock.
Owens’ basket would be the last of the evening for the Wildcats, as the conference’s top defensive club held Linfield scoreless over the final 1:40.
Riordan led the Loggers with a team-high 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting, while Jones chipped in with 15 points.
Puget Sound shot 52.1 percent from the floor, including a 54.5 clip during the second half.
Owens led the ‘Cats with 20 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Maltman added 13 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
NEXT: Linfield plays host to Pacific Lutheran Friday at 6 p.m.