TACOMA, Wash. – Puget Sound forced 19 turnovers and held the Linfield Wildcats to just one 3-point basket on its way to a 65-57 Northwest Conference victory Friday night at Memorial Fieldhouse.
Limited to two points at halftime, Linfield star Gretchen Owens poured in 17 in the second half on her way to game-high scoring honors. Brynna Fuller chipped in a career-high 16 points on 6-of-11 shooting and Kaely Maltman contributed a dozen points and eight rebounds. In the end, it wasn’t enough to pull the Wildcats past the Loggers.
Linfield (8-8, 2-5 NWC) dropped its third straight contest and fourth game in five outings.
Holding serve on its home court, Puget Sound (9-7, 5-2 NWC) remained in contention for the NWC title heading into a Saturday night matchup against defending champion George Fox.
The Wildcats and Loggers played a nip-and-tuck game early. The score remained tied at 11 midway through the opening half.
Linfield led 17-15 before Puget Sound went on a 15-0 run to open up a sizable advantage. On the strength of seven points by Fuller, the Wildcats reeled off a 9-0 surge of their own, closing the gap to four, 30-26. UPS led 32-26 at intermission.
Fuller hit 5-of-10 shots in the opening period to lead all scorers with 12 points. Owens, the NWC’s top scorer, struggled through a 1-for-10 performance before the break. She finished 5-for-18 from the field but was 9-of-10 from the free throw line, all of it in the second half.
Linfield found itself trailing by 11 points with five minutes elapsed in the second half before Owens heated up. She scored 16 straight points for the Wildcats to pull the ‘Cats to within four, 54-50, with 6:57 remaining. But Owen went without a bucket after that and the Wildcats couldn’t stem the tide against the Loggers.
Loggers guard Kelsey McKinnis topped the UPS stat sheet with 17 points, four rebounds and two assists. Erin Stumbaugh added 12 points off the bench. In all, the UPS bench outscored the Linfield reserves 22-6 as all 10 Loggers who saw action scored in the game.
NEXT: The Wildcats return home Saturday night to face defending NWC champion George Fox. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. with live internet play-by-play starting at 5:50.