McMINNVILLE, Ore. – A layup from Tasha Rowland glanced off the rim as time expired and Pacific held off Linfield 48-46 in an intense Northwest Conference matchup Friday evening in Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Katelyn Henson (Jr., Camas, Wash.) recorded a double-double with 14 points and 15 rebounds, and Nicole Barton added nine points on 3-for-4 shooting to lead the way for the Wildcats.
On the game, Linfield outrebounded Pacific, 45-44, and the Boxers committed 16 turnovers compared to the Wildcats' 15. Linfield fell to 2-16 on the season and 1-11 in NWC play.
Both teams struggled offensively out of the gate, as the Boxers employed a full-court press to keep the ‘Cats on their toes. A layup from Kaely Maltman (Sr., Sandy, Ore.) followed by a jumper from Henson gave Linfield the early 4-1 lead.
Three early rebounds from Tegan Grunwald helped keep possessions alive and contributed to four second-chance points for the ‘Cats. The teams traded baskets early on, with five lead changes in the opening six minutes indicating the back-and-forth feel to the pace.
A three from Abby Talboy stretched the Boxers’ lead out to 10-6, but Pacific could not get comfortable as a layup from Rowland cut the spread back to two.
Barton drained a 3-pointer with 10 minutes remaining in the first to temporarily give control back to Linfield. A trey from Kaila Johnson capped off an 8-2 Boxers’ run that pushed the score to 18-13 and forced a Wildcat timeout.
Pacific (13-8, 6-7 NWC) held the first consistent lead of the game moving into the closing minutes, and a layup from NWC rebounding leader Paige Jensen pushed the score to 21-15 with 4:14 to play in the first.
A steal from Taylor Solomon (Jr., Kirkland, Wash.) with two minutes remaining led to a wide -open layup from Henson. A jumper from Henson on the ensuing possession pulled the ‘Cats within two as the clock wound down, and the sophomore phenom drilled another jumper from the corner with 20 seconds remaining to put the score at 25-23 in favor of Pacific.
Henson had eight rebounds in the first to go along with her 10 points, both game highs to that point. The Boxers balanced scoring evenly throughout the lineup, as eight different players found the net. The teams were fairly even in terms of shooting percentage, though Pacific held a slight edge over Linfield, 32.3-30.
After the ‘Cats struck first in the second, the Boxers put together a 6-0 run to push Linfield to burn a timeout in the first three minutes of play. A three from Johnson directly out of the timeout extended Pacific’s advantage to 34-25.
Both teams ran ice cold through the middle part of the second. A layup from Barton finally broke the silence with 10 minutes to play. An ensuing three from Nani Ostrom put Pacific up by 10 as the Boxers began to pull away.
The ‘Cats mounted a final comeback moving into the closing minutes, as a three-point play from Tyra Barawis put Linfield within four. Moments later, Solomon drained a three that brought the score to 43-40 with less than five minutes to play.
A free throw from Barton with 1:21 remaining cut the score to 45-43, and the Boxers turned the ball over on the ensuing possession. Barton hit another long-range bucket that brought the ‘Cats within one, 47-46 with 13.3 seconds remaining, and Linfield inbounded after the Boxers’ next possession down by a pair. Rowland grabbed the rebound from an errant three-point attempt, but her putback rattled out as the final buzzer sounded.
AHEAD: Linfield travels to Tacoma, Wash., to take on NWC opponent Puget Sound in the Wildcats’ final road game of the 2012-2013 season. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. in the Loggers’ Memorial Fieldhouse.
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