FOREST GROVE, Ore. – A career high 19 points from
(Sr., Scio, Ore.) and near season-high 23 points from Kaely Maltman went for naught as Linfield missed an opportunity to notch back-to-back Northwest Conference victories in a heartbreaking one-point loss to Pacific, 74-73, Friday night inside the Stoller Center.
With the win, the Boxers improved to 8-15 on the year, including 4-11 in NWC action, and completed the season sweep against the Wildcats (8-16, 4-11 NWC).
Kati Sheldon paced the Boxers with 16 points on 7-for-10 shooting to go along with 10 rebounds. Sarah Curl contributed 15 points off the bench, Alex Pfefferle went a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line as part of a 13-point performance and Olivia Cook added a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds.
In addition to Riley and Maltman, Taylor Solomon also finished in double figures for Linfield, totaling 19 points on 7-for-9 shotting. Jessica McMillan finished with a team-high eight rebounds.
Maltman sparked the ‘Cats with the first two points of the game, and Linfield closed what was a tight first half – featuring six ties – on a 15-8 run, including seven points from Graham, for a 36-29 advantage.
But just like in the first matchup between the two clubs, the Boxers turned up the heat in the second half, shooting 53.1 percent from the floor, including 44.4 percent from long range, to rally for another comeback victory.
Pacific gained its first advantage of the second half on a pair of Sheldon free throws with 14:36 to play, and after an old-fashioned three-point play from Solomon put Linfield up 47-45, the Boxers took the lead for good on Pfefferle's 3-point make and never trailed again.
The Wildcats were never far behind, staying within five points and tying the game three more times, but could never get over the hump and Pfefferle sank two free throws with 15 seconds remaining to seal the deal for Pacific.
COMING UP: Linfield returns home for the final game of the season, Saturday at 6 p.m. against Pacific Lutheran. Maltman, the Wildcats' lone senior, will be honored prior to tipoff.