McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Pinpoint shooting favored both sides, but 19 turnovers by Linfield proved to be the Wildcats’ undoing during a 73-60 Northwest Conference defeat to the Pacific Boxers Tuesday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Pacific (10-7, 3-6 NWC) snapped a string of five straight losses while sweeping the season series from Linfield.
The loss extend the Wildcats’ own losing skein to five straight, dropping the ‘Cats back to seventh place in the NWC with a 2-7 league record and 8-10 overall mark.
Pacific star Erica Schultz’s 23 points led four Boxers with double-digit scoring totals. Schultz hit 10-of-14 from the field, canned a trio of 3-pointers, and added seven rebounds, two steals and two assists.
Gretchen Owens scored a game-high 26 points while adding a game-best nine rebounds, and freshman Katelyn Henson (Jr., Camas, Wash.) pocketed a career-high 17 points for the Wildcats, who shot over 60 percent in the first half before cooling considerably in the second.
The teams combined for 13 3-pointers in the game, including eight by Pacific. Owens topped all long-range shooters with four 3-pointers.
The Boxers and Wildcats staged a shooting clinic in the first 10 minutes. Both teams converted over 70 percent of their shots in the game’s first 13 minutes, though neither could forge more than a six-point advantage.
The Wildcats went in front 12-6 during the game’s first 4½ minutes, before the Boxers scored the next nine points to take the lead moments later.
Pacific pushed in front 28-22 on a short-range jumper by Brittney Anderson with 8:47 to play before Owens sank a pair of free throws that gave the hosts a momentary 32-30 advantage.
Following a 34-all tie, Linfield began to unravel, turning the ball over near the basket on six straight possessions. The Boxers obliged by scoring the final six points of the half.
All told, the lead volleyed five times in the opening half and there were seven ties. Linfield shot 60.9 percent to Pacific’s 58.1. Owens tallied 17 points in the period while Henson dropped in 11, hitting all five of her field goal attempts.
When play resumed, the Boxers netted seven straight points to open up their largest lead of the game to that point, 47-34.
Linfield crawled back to within 54-49 but Annette Highley’s drive down the center of the key put the Boxers back up by six with 11:10 left to play. The Wildcats never answered after that.
Pacific outrebounded Linfield 33-27 and forced 12 steals to Linfield’s 1. The Boxers’ bench accounted for 24 points, including a dozen from Highley, while Linfield’s non-starters scored eight.
Anderson made 6-of-13 shots to finish with 13 points while Paige Jenson contributed 10 points, seven steals and five rebounds.
COMING UP: The 'Cats are back on the road to Tacoma, Wash., where they’ll face Pacific Lutheran Friday night at 6 p.m. Live internet play-by-play coverage begins at 5:50 p.m.
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