McMINVILLE, Ore. – Bolstered by three double-digit scorers and an 18-0 run that spanned both halves, Linfield won for the second time in four days, pulling out a 69-60 victory over Colorado College Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
The 57 combined points of Gretchen Owens, Kaely Maltman (Sr., Sandy, Ore.) and Katelyn Henson (Jr., Camas, Wash.) were enough for the Wildcats (6-4) to overcome the 20-point performances of Colorado College’s Becky Luetjen and Hannah Hoopingarner and a late second-half comeback by the Tigers (4-5).
Both teams got out to a bit of a slow start, combining for just eight points over the first five minutes of play. But after Luetjen and Henson traded 3-pointers for their respective teams, the scoring pace picked up a bit and about five minutes later, the score was tied at 12-12.
Five ties and six lead changes took place in the first period, with neither team able to run away from the other. The biggest lead belonged to the Tigers, who held a 23-17 advantage with 3:00 remaining in the half. But an 8-0 run by Linfield, capped off by an Owens jumper in the key with 42 seconds to play, helped the ‘Cats retake the lead just before the break.
The Wildcats’ run extended into the opening minutes of the second half, extending their lead to 12 points. Meanwhile, the Tigers did not score until the 16:29 mark, when Leutjen scored on a fast-break layup. Linfield’s lead bounced between single and double digits as the game wore on, but the ‘Cats were not seriously threatened until the later stages of the game.
That’s when the Tigers went to the long ball. Down 13 points with 8:34 to go, Leutjen and Hoopingarner combined for four 3-pointers in a span of 3 ½ minutes to cut the lead to three.
After a quick Linfield timeout, Brynna Fuller knocked down a jumper from beyond the arc, sparking an 8-2 run that pushed the Wildcats’ lead back to nine points. But the Tigers would not go away. Hoopingarner made three more long-distance shots to bring her team to within four points with 40.7 seconds remaining.
Linfield hit 3-of-4 free throws in the final minute to preserve the victory. For the game, however, the Wildcats were shaky from the charity stripe, converting just 15-of-22 (68.2 percent) of their attempts. The ‘Cats shot 44.8 percent from the floor.
Colorado was red-hot from beyond the arc, shooting 52.4 percent from 3-point range, but only converted 34.5 percent of its 2-point attempts and also committed 21 turnovers in the loss.
Owens finished with a season-high 29 points. Maltman registered a double-double with 16 points and a game-high 11 rebounds and Henson added 12 points and six rebounds.
In addition to 20 points each from Luetjen and Hoopingarner, the Tigers got nine points from Jordy Stephenson.
UP NEXT: The Wildcats take a brief hiatus from competition for final exams and the holidays. Their next game is scheduled for Wednesday, Dec. 28 against La Sierra University. Action tips off at Ted Wilson Gymnasium at 6 p.m.
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