TACOMA, Wash. – Putting a deep dent in Puget Sound’s hopes for a Northwest Conference championship while keeping their own playoff hopes alive, the Linfield Wildcats soundly defeated the home-standing Loggers 57-46 Friday night.
Erasing the bad memories of 12 straight defeats at the Memorial Fieldhouse, Linfield put together perhaps its most complete game of the season to knock the Loggers out of a three-way tie atop the NWC standings.
Linfield improved to 6-7 in the NWC and 11-10 overall. The ‘Cats remain in a tight race for the final NWC playoff berth with Whitworth and Whitman.
The loss knocked Puget Sound into third place in the NWC at 11-3. The Loggers, who are battling defending champion George Fox and contender Lewis & Clark for the title, are 18-5 overall.
Linfield all-star Gretchen Owens scored a game-high 23 points on 10-of-19 shooting and added 14 rebounds and four assists to propel the Wildcats to their first win at the Fieldhouse since the 1999-2000 season.
Owens scored 14 of her 23 points after intermission, helping the Wildcats outscore the hosts 28-21 over the final 20 minutes.
Linfield built a four-point lead at intermission, 29-25, then held Puget Sound without a field goal for six minutes in the early stages of the second half. The Wildcats, who outshot the Loggers .464 to .219 in the second half, led by as many as 20 points on their way to the victory.
After UPS jumped in front by 5-0 in the game’s first 90 seconds, Linfield battled back to grab its first lead of the game, 13-12, on a layup by Chrissy Baumgartner.
Kaely Maltman (Sr., Sandy, Ore.) added nine points, seven rebounds and one assist, Micha Pringle came off the bench for seven points, eight rebounds and three assists, and Baumgartner collared 10 rebounds while playing all 40 minutes.
Kelsey McKinnis paced Puget Sound with 14 points.
NEXT: Linfield welcomes Pacific to Ted Wilson Gym Saturday night for a 6 o’clock game. The first 50 Linfield students to arrive at the gym and cheer for the Wildcats will receive coupons for free food from Quiznos.
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