McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield found its outside game, but it came just a little too late against Evergreen State as the Wildcats failed to claw back from a double-digit deficit in a 63-56 loss to the Geoducks Friday night inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Quincey Gibson (Sr., Issaquah, Wash.) knocked down three 3-pointers in the second half, pairing her long-range success with a perfect 4-for-4 performance from the charity stripe to share team-high honors with a career-high 13 points. Katelyn Henson added another 13 points and nine rebounds for the Wildcats, who were left still searching for their first victory of the season.
Brittany Gray led all players with 17 points and 11 rebounds, helping NAIA Evergreen State (2-3) to their second straight victory over a Northwest Conference team.
Kaely Maltman gave the Wildcats their only lead of the first half, kicking off the scoring for both teams just 31 seconds after the opening tip with a bucket in the paint. But an 8-0 run put the Geoducks in the driver's seat, and Linfield spent the rest of the period playing catch-up.
Neither team shot the ball particularly well over the first 20 minutes, but Evergreen State created and made good on more opportunities, converting on 6-of-20 shots from the floor to a 6-for-20 output by Linfield.
Gibson knocked down a pair of free throws with 3:47 remaining, knotting the score at 18-18, and the ‘Cats kept within a single possession game until Sammi Clark's jumper with 15 seconds to go gave the Geoducks a 26-22 advantage headed into the break.
Nine of the Wildcats' 22 first-half points came from the free throw line, including a perfect 4-for-4 effort from Gibson. Linfield held a slight advantage on the glass, 19-18, but turned the ball over 11 times.
The second half played out much like the first, with Linfield claiming an early lead before giving up a big lead and having to claw back with a young roster.
Taylor Solomon pulled the Wildcats ahead by one about a minute in a half into the second period, and Henson pulled down a defensive rebound before heading down the other end of the court to add two more points for a 29-26 Wildcat advantage with 17:52 to play.
With the Geoducks keeping possessions alive with offensive rebounds, Sadee Jones scored nine points as part of an 11-2 run that swung momentum back to the visitors. Evergreen State finished the night with 17 offensive boards. A Randi Boseman jumper with 7:01 remaining gave the Geoducks their largest advantage, 50-39.
Gibson responded with a trey to bring the deficit back to single digits, and put some life back in the Linfield lineup. The ‘Cats scored 14 points over the final seven minutes, including three more 3-pointers from Gibson, Henson and Dani Krier (Sr., Eugene, Ore.), but ran out of time to pose a serious threat to Evergreen State's lead.
NEXT: The Wildcats head south for a pair of games at Pomona-Pitzer and Cal Tech, Nov. 26-27, before returning to the Pacific Northwest for the NWC season opener against George Fox.