McMINNVILLE, Ore. - Gretchen Owens scored a team-high 31 points, including a clutch 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining to seal a 77-70 overtime victory over Simpson Friday evening at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
The non-conference win pushes Linfield to 5-3 overall, while remaining 1-1 in Northwest Conference play. With the loss Simpson drops to 1-8 on the season.
In a game that featured a thrilling final two minutes of regulation and overtime, the Wildcats were able to edge the Red Hawks with a great effort during the overtime period.
After a Bekah Wofford free throw with 53 seconds remaining in regulation tied the score at 67, Linfield had an opportunity with under one minute to score the go-ahead basket. The ‘Cats were unsuccessful, as a shot from Owens rimmed out, giving the ball back to the Red Hawks with 27 seconds remaining.
Able to take the last shot, Simpson got just what they wanted. With five seconds on the clock, Sara Rooker drove baseline before drawing a foul with two seconds remaining. Needing to make one shot to give her team the lead, the junior guard missed both attempts off the back of the rim.
Heading into the overtime period with all the momentum, Linfield set the tone early with a Chandler Jones 3-pointer less than 20 seconds in. Jones’ outside shooting was key all night, as the freshman knocked down 4-of-6 shots from beyond the arc.
With a three-point advantage, Linfield’s defense shut down Simpson, holding the Red Hawks without a field goal until overtime until the 1:44 mark of overtime. The Wildcats needed a great defensive effort, considering they went without a field goal and shot 0-of-5 from the free throw line during that stretch.
After seeing its lead trimmed to one, Linfield pushed its lead out to 72-69 on a jumper in the paint from Owens at the 1:22 mark.
Following a Wofford free throw, Owens put the dagger in the Red Hawks with a timely 3-pointer with 22 seconds remaining. With the shot clock running down, Abby Olbrich forced the defense to collapse on her before kicking the ball out to an open Owens.
Owens finished the night with a double-double, tallying 31 points and 13 rebounds. Jones added 14 points, while Kaely Maltman (Sr., Sandy, Ore.) chipped in with 12.
The Wildcats shot 44.3 percent from the floor, including 9-of-25 from beyond the arc.
Led by a game-high 32 points from Wofford, the Red Hawks shot at a 42.6 percent clip. Wofford was nearly unstoppable in the paint, making 13-of-21 shots in the loss.
During the first half Linfield overcame a slow start before taking a 30-26 lead into the break. Owens paced the ‘Cats with nine points during the half, as the ‘Cats shot 40.7 percent from the floor.
After falling behind 8-3 to start the game, the Wildcats erupted for a 16-4 run over the next six minutes. Linfield built their lead to 19-12 on a basket from Owens midway through the half.
Simpson regrouped with an 11-3 run of its own, taking a 23-22 lead on a Kylie Shaw running layup at the 3:18 mark. Simpson got back into the game by forcing 14 Linfield turnovers in the half. The Red Hawks cashed those turnovers into 11 of their 26 points.
NEXT: Linfield returns to action Sunday for a 1 p.m. road game against Eastern Oregon.
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McMinnville, OR 97128