PORTLAND, Ore. – Defensively limiting the homecourt Pioneers to just 27 second-half points while converting an impressive 63 percent of its field goal attempts over the final 20 minutes, Linfield stormed back from 17 points down to secure an 82-71 Northwest Conference victory over Lewis & Clark Tuesday evening inside the Pamplin Sports Center.
The Wildcats (7-13, 3-8 NWC) bested the Pioneers (10-10, 5-6 NWC) for the first time in nine tries, including a heartbreaking one-point defeat back in January, and also halted a four-game losing streak.
Taylor Solomon (Jr., Kirkland, Wash.) sank five 3-pointers as part of a 21-point performance that led a quartet of double-digit scorers on the visitors side. Kaely Maltman (Sr., Sandy, Ore.) recorded her seventh double-double of the year with 17 points and 13 rebounds, leading all players in the latter category.
Jessica McMillan (Soph., McMinnville, Ore.) matched a career-high with 11 points while Riley Graham (Fr., Scio, Ore.) pumped in 10 more off the bench.
Tayler Wang scored 20 points on 7-for-17 shooting from the field, and Sarah Anderson contributed 13 points, including four 3-pointers.
Lewis & Clark looked to have the game in hand after making good on eight 3-pointers in the first half, including four straight as part of a 12-2 run that turned a 11-10 Wildcat lead into a 22-13 advantage with 11:24 to play in the opening period. Linfield shot the ball well – 43.5 percent – but did not get nearly the shot opportunities as the Pioneers enjoyed (35-23) due in part to nine first-half turnovers.
By intermission, Lewis & Clark held a 44-27 lead, punctuated by Wang's buzzer-beating layup.
The final 20 minutes, however, belonged to the Wildcats.
Katelyn Henson (Jr., Camas, Wash.) scored just 11 seconds after the second-half whistle, sparking a 5-0 run that pulled Linfield to within 10 points. The ‘Cats whittled the deficit down to single digits on a 3-pointer from Solomon with 14:41 to play, and kept it within reach for good after Graham's trey at the 12:36 mark of the half.
A free throw from Dani Krier (Fr., Eugene, Ore.) with 4:36 on the clock knotted the score for just the third time all game, 67-67, and McMillan's make from downtown a little more than a minute later gave Linfield its first lead since the 13:53 mark of the first half.
The Pioneers got as close as four points, 73-69 on Ayisat Afolabi's jumper, as the clock wound down, but Maltman knocked down 4-of-6 free throw attempts with less than 20 seconds remaining to prevent a late collapse.
On the night, the ‘Cats experienced one of their better shooting nights from the charity stripe, capitalizing on 17 of 30 opportunities. Lewis & Clark hit just eight field goals in the second half, scoring exactly a third of its 27 points from the free throw line.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Linfield defeated Lewis & Clark for the first time since Jan. 16, 2009 and won for the first time in the Pamplin Sports Center since Feb. 17, 2006…the Wildcats tied a conference season high with 82 points…the team's overall season high was 88 points scored against Blackburn...Linfield shot a season-high 61.1 percent from beyond the arc...Maltman recorded her 13th career double-double.
COMING UP: Linfield hits the road for its longest trip of the season, taking on Whitworth in Spokane Friday night at 6 p.m. before trekking to Walla Walla for a 4 p.m. Saturday matchup against Whitman.
10 points, 3 rebounds, 3 assists
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128