McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Gretchen Owens and Kaely Maltman (Sr., Sandy, Ore.) combined for 55 points, helping Linfield break a 15-year losing streak against Pacific Lutheran with a 73-59 victory Friday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 4-3 in the Northwest Conference and 9-6 overall. The Lutes fall to 2-5 in conference action and 4-11 overall.
In a close first half that featured three ties and nine lead changes, the ‘Cats went on a 13-6 run to break open the game.
With the game tied at 16-16, Linfield took the lead on a pair of free throws from Maltman at the 10:06 mark and never looked back. The club stretched the lead to as many as eight, and held a 36-31 advantage at halftime.
After the break, Pacific Lutheran methodically chipped away at the margin, cutting the lead to two on a 3-point basket by Shelly Kilcup with 15:43 left on the clock.
Linfield did not panic, and instead clamped down on defense. The lead was back at eight after a steal and layup by Breanna Ribeiro. Ribeiro, who filled in for injured starting point guard Abby Olbrich, finished the night with a game-high four steals.
Both teams went scoreless for more than two minutes before another steal and layup, this time by Owens at the 7:56 mark.
Another 3-pointer from Kilcup cut the lead to five, but Linfield went on an 11-4 run to close the game.
Fouls played a major part in the final score. The Lutes committed 23 fouls, putting the ‘Cats at the line 30 times. Conversely, Pacific Lutheran shot one free throw the entire night, as Linfield had just six fouls.
The Wildcats also took better care of the ball, turning the ball over 14 times to Pacific Lutheran’s 22 miscues.
Maltman finished the night with 23 points, including 15-of-16 from the free throw line. Owens added 32 points, her second 30-plus effort of the season.
Three Wildcats had six points, including Ribeiro, Stephanie Fennimore and Chrissy Baumgartner.
Kilcup led the Lutes with 23 points, including 5-of-8 from three-point range. Teammate Samantha Potter contributed 10 points.
GAME NOTES: The Wildcats’ last win over the Lutes came Jan. 20, 1996 by a score of 94-79.
NEXT: The ‘Cats visit defending conference champions George Fox Saturday at 6 p.m.
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