McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Hot-shooting and defensive-minded Chapman thoroughly dominated the first half to put Linfield away early and earn a 78-58 women’s basketball victory Friday evening at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
The Panthers (5-3) jumped out to a big 22-6 lead over the first 12 minutes of play, thanks in part to an aggressive defense that forced the Wildcats (5-4) into too many turnovers and quick shots. When the ‘Cats did get good looks at the basket, the shots would not fall. As a team, Linfield made just eight field goals in the first period, despite many of its attempts coming from inside the key.
The opposite was true for Chapman, which seemingly could not miss, knocking down 15-of-24 shot attempts (53.6 percent) in the first half. The Panthers also earned eight trips to the charity stripe, converting 14-of-15 free throws.
The low point of Linfield’s offensive woes came during a six-minute scoreless stretch midway through the first period. Alex Christensen (Soph., Hillsboro, Ore.) finally broke the drought at the 7:25 mark, dribbling the length of the floor for a layup that drew the home team to within 14 points. But a bucket in the paint, a steal and layup followed by a 3-pointer from the wing in just 63 seconds quickly swung the momentum back in favor of Chapman. The Panthers went on a 9-2 run to extend their lead to 21 points.
Head coach Robin Potera-Haskins tried nearly every combination of players possible to generate offense, putting 11 different Wildcats on the floor in the first half. But despite its effort on both ends of the floor, the home team entered the locker room facing a 46-21 deficit. Three Chapman players reached double figures by halftime, led by Kimi Takaoka’s 13 points.
The second half initially spelled better results for the Wildcats, who matched their entire point total from the first half in just 10 ½ minutes. They also significantly cut down on their turnovers, committing just three in the entire second period compared to 11 in the first. Defensively, Linfield slowed down the Chapman train, holding the Panthers to 10 points over nearly 12 minutes to trim the deficit to 11 points with 8:36 remaining in the game.
But the Panthers could not be contained forever, and by the end of the game, the lead was back to 22 points. A jumper by Lauren Sherrard (Soph., Newberg, Ore.) with two seconds remaining cut the final margin to 20 points, 78-58.
Takaoka, a sophomore guard, finished with a team-high 18 points for Chapman. Brandi Hood, Liz Hartnett and Emily McCoy also posted double-digit scoring efforts. As a team, the Panthers shot 52 percent from the field and knocked down 23-of-26 free throws. The visitors also out-rebounded the ‘Cats 35-26.
Gretchen Owens led all scorers with 19 points and also hauled in six rebounds despite playing nearly the entire second half with four personal fouls. Kaely Maltman (Jr., Sandy, Ore.) was the only other Wildcat to reach double figures, finishing with 10 points.
Reserve Aimee Taniguchi was a bright spot off the bench. She recorded career highs in points (5), rebounds (3) and minutes played (26). Overall, the Linfield bench outscored Chapman’s 25-6.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield is now 2-2 all-time against Chapman, with two consecutive losses.
AHEAD: The Wildcats have less than 24 hours to regroup before hosting Colorado College in a nonconference matchup Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium. The Tigers lost to No. 3 George Fox 69-27 Friday night in Newberg. Action begins Saturday at 6 p.m.
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