McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Neva Hauser scored 13 of her 15 points in the second half, sparking Lewis & Clark to a 66-53 Northwest Conference victory over the Linfield Wildcats Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Lewis & Clark, ranked seventh in the nation and enjoying perhaps the best season in program history, ran its season record to 19-2 and 10-2 in the NWC. Linfield, which executed its game-plan to perfection in the first half, saw its modest two-game winning streak snapped.
Hauser hit 5-of-9 shots from the field, including four 3-pointers after intermission, to thwart Linfield’s upset bid.
Three Wildcats scored in double figures as Gretchen Owens pumped in 15 points and collared seven rebounds, Brynna Fuller totaled 14 points, three rebounds and two steals, and Kaely Maltman (Jr., Sandy, Ore.) had 11 points, seven rebounds and four assists for the home-standing Wildcats.
Pioneers’ all-star Kristina Williams finished as the game’s leading scorer, outdueling Owens, the conference’s top scorer. Williams poured in 18 points to go with seven rebounds and a couple of assists. Katie Anderson made 4-of-6 shots off the bench for 11 points in 14 minutes of action.
Linfield played Lewis & Clark on even terms in the first half, though neither team was especially accurate from the field in the game’s initial 10 minutes.
Sparked by Fuller, Linfield began to heat up after that. A steal and layup by Fuller had the Wildcats within one point, 13-12, at the 9:30 mark of the opening stanza. Fuller cashed in a pair of baskets to go along with two steals in the early going.
Linfield took a momentary 16-15 lead on Owens’ turnaround bank shot, before Kristina Williams put the visitors back in front with a baseline jumper on the ensuing possession.
Owens took a hard fall with 4:25 to play in the half and was forced to leave the game with Linfield trailing 20-18. Forced to play without Owens for the remainder of the half, Linfield made 2-of-4 shots to forge a 22-22 tie at the intermission. L&C shot a less-than-stellar .273 for the half, but benefited by nine more shot opportunities than Linfield.
Owens returned to begin the second half, but scored only seven points the rest of the way. Trailing 36-32, the Pioneers went on a 9-0 run to jump back in front by five. A 3-point play by Katelyn Henson (Soph., Camas, Wash.) drew the ‘Cats to within 44-43 at the 11:25 mark. The lead volleyed twice more as Henson and Sara Villanueva traded baskets, and a 3-pointer by Neva Hauser again gave the visitors at five-point margin, 50-45, with 8:19 to play.
Aided by Hauser’s timely long-distance shooting, Lewis & Clark launched a 12-2 run over the next 2:24, allowing the Pioneers to break the game open. Hauser totaled 15 points in the game, including 4-of-5 from beyond the 3-point arc.
The game featured nine lead changes and eight ties. The Wildcats, however, failed to convert a basket over final 4:56.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Owens reached the 1,300-point plateau Friday night and now has 1,315 points for her career. . . Owens is on pace to break her own single-season record for minutes played (35.6) set last season. . . the Wildcats must win three of their remaining four games in order to clinch a second consecutive winning season under coach Robin Potera-Haskins.
AHEAD: Linfield is home for its next two contests. Friday, the Wildcats face Whitworth at 6 p.m. On Saturday, Linfield welcomes Whitman to Ted Wilson Gym in a game that features a special tipoff off time of 4 o’clock.
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