PORTLAND, Ore. – Lewis & Clark bounced back from its first loss of the season to turn back Linfield 57-46 in a Northwest Conference women’s basketball matchup Friday night at the Pamplin Sports Center.
A deceiving final scoring differential disguised what was a tight contest throughout much of the game, which featured seven ties and three lead changes. But despite a valiant comeback that knotted the score at 44-44 with less than four minutes remaining, the Wildcats came away winless in their first action of 2012.
With the victory, the defending NWC co-champions and 11th-ranked Pioneers improve to 12-1 on the season, including 3-1 in league games, their only loss at the hands of No. 3 George Fox. The ‘Cats, meanwhile, saw their two-game win streak snapped and slip to 7-5 on the year, including 1-2 in NWC action.
Against Lewis & Clark, Linfield jumped out to an early lead, scoring the first six points of the game. Neither team provided much offense in the opening ten minutes, but a 12-2 run by the Pioneers was enough for the home team to gain a four-point advantage with 9:05 on the clock.
The lead exchanged hands several times as the game wore on, but neither team pulled ahead by more than two points until the end of the half. That’s when Lewis & Clark pushed its advantage to six points, sending Linfield to the locker room facing a 22-16 deficit.
A slow start to the second period and multiple turnovers by the ‘Cats allowed Lewis & Clark to double its lead to 12 points, 31-19, less than five minutes into the second half.
Down but not out, Linfield stormed back, using a 16-4 run to tie the game at 35-35 with 11:30 remaining in the game. Gretchen Owens capped off the scoring spurt with a long-range bomb for three of her game-high 23 points.
Linfield tied the game twice more but was never able to get ahead. A 44-44 stalemate with 3:57 remaining quickly disappeared with a 13-2 Pioneer run. A pair of free throws by Owens in the final minute cut the final scoring differential to 11 points.
Owens led all players with 23 points on 9-of-20 shooting from the field, including 3-of-5 from 3-point range. Katelyn Henson (Jr., Camas, Wash.) was the only other Wildcat to hit double figures with 12 points to go along with a team-high five rebounds.
Kristina Williams paced the Pioneers with 14 points. Teammate Megan Spence added 12 and Margaret Dowling had 10 points and a game-high seven rebounds.
A significant free throw disparity favored Lewis & Clark, which earned 21 opportunities at the charity stripe to Linfield’s six. The Pioneers also handily won the rebounding battle, 41-27.
NEXT: Linfield returns home to host Willamette in a 6 p.m. matchup Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
3-pointer ties game at 44-44
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