McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield held La Sierra without a field goal for the first nine minutes and just three baskets in the opening half, but the Wildcats had to swallow hard before fending off a scrappy Golden Eagles squad in the waning moments to earn a 52-48 nonconference victory Wednesday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Led by the 17 points of Gretchen Owens and 11 more from Brynna Fuller, the Wildcats improved to 7-4 in their final out-of-conference tuneup. La Sierra, a NAIA program from Riverside, Calif., saw its record fall to 3-19 for the season.
Taking 30 shots in the first half, La Sierra converted just three field goals during the first 20 minutes. The Wildcats’ largest lead of the first half was 17 points, 23-6, following a layup by Aimee Taniguchi at the 2:26 mark of the period. But a jumper by Patrice Patterson and a pair of free throws from Joirdan Jones pulled La Sierra to within 13 at 23-10 at intermission.
Fuller led the first-half scoring with seven points while Owens and Kaely Maltman (Sr., Sandy, Ore.) each added six.
When Katelyn Henson (Jr., Camas, Wash.) hit a 3-pointer less than 90 seconds into the second half, the Wildcats were again in control at 28-12. That margin steadily melted away once Jones cut it to single digits at 36-27 with 8:31 to play. Natalia Hawthorne swished a 3-pointer with 20 seconds to go that brought the Golden Eagles to within three, 48-45. Free throws by Owens and Nicole Barton in the final 14 seconds sealed the victory for the Wildcats.
Owens led all scorers with 17 points on 7-of-15 shooting. Though Maltman experienced a sub-par shooting night, going 3-of-13 from the field, she made up for it with a team-high 10 rebounds and five steals. Henson delivered nine points, six rebounds and two assists and successfully converted the Wildcats’ lone 3-point basket. Linfield suffered through a 1-for-16 performance from outside the arc.
For the Golden Eagles, Hawthorne and Jones shared top scoring honors with 13 each. Baumgaertel added 10 points and eight rebounds. Victoria Lowe pulled in a game-high 11 rebounds to go with eight points.
After making just 10 percent of their attempts in the first half, the Eagles found their mark in the second half, hitting 50 percent on 16-of-32 shooting.
COMING UP: Linfield resumes Northwest Conference play Friday, Jan. 6, in Portland when the ‘Cats face Lewis & Clark at the Pamplin Sports Complex. Saturday, Linfield hosts Willamette in another NWC counter. Both games tip off at 6 p.m. with live internet play-by-play starting at 5:50.
11 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists
Director of Sports Information
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