Heartbreaking Overtime Loss for PLU Women's Hoops
NEWBERG, Ore. - Pacific Lutheran battled defending champion George Fox on equal terms for 45 minutes Friday night but came up just short, losing 68-65 in overtime in Northwest Conference women's basketball action in Wheeler Sports Center.
Pacific Lutheran (4-13 overall, 2-7 conference) came into the game with five straight NWC losses and facing a team that had defeated it by 37 points the first time they played each other in early December in Parkland.
This game was completely different, however, as the Bruins scored a pair of game-tying free throws with 1.9 seconds left in regulation and then out-scored the Lutes, 13-10 in overtime, to pull out the victory.
Sara Backstrom scored 13 points to lead the Lutes, who also got 10 points apiece from Jordan Westering, Shelly Kilcup and Katelyn Smith. Samantha Potter grabbed a team-high eight rebounds, and Backstrom passed out four assists.
Playing without all-conference wing Keisha Gordon, who suffered a concussion in Tuesday's win over Willamette, George Fox had trouble scoring early and fell behind 12-4 less than five minutes into the game. A layup and two three-pointers by Backstrom sparked the Lutes to their big lead. The Bruins finally got going and went on a 15-5 run to take their first lead at 19-17 on an Arianna Mohsenian three from the left corner with 8:35 left in the half.
The Lutes regained the lead on a three by Jordan Westering and went ahead 23-19 before a layup by Hayley Cusick and a three by Carrie Myers gave the Bruins a 24-23 edge with 2:37 left. George Fox led 28-25 at the break after Myers hit a layin at the buzzer.
The Bruins built a 34-27 lead on two Cusick free throws with 17:35 left in the second half, but the Lutes responded with an 11-1 run to take a 38-35 lead on another Westering three with 13:23 to go. George Fox climbed back ahead 41-40 on a Myers layup with 9:55 left, and the teams traded leads nine times over the next nine minutes.
A free throw by Breezy Rinehart-Young with 19 seconds left pulled the Bruins into a 53-53 tie, but Smith put back her own missed shot to give PLU a 55-53 lead and left the Lutes 8.8 seconds away from the upset. Cusick sent the game into overtime, however, with two pressure free throws that hit nothing but net after being fouled on a drive with 1.9 seconds to go.
Hannah Munger scored the first bucket of the overtime and Mohsenian nailed a three to make it 60-56 Bruins with 4:08 to play, but the Lutes would not go away. A driving layup by Backstrom brought PLU within one at 61-60 with 2:25 left, but a Mohsenian jumper and a Myers free throw made it 64-60 with 1:14 to go. Two free throws by Munger with 20 seconds left and one by Myers with 10 seconds to go upped the George Fox lead to 67-62, which proved to be enough despite a banked three by Mackenzie Bieker with seven ticks left.
Munger posted her eighth double-double of the season and 19th of her career with 14 points and 14 rebounds and added four blocked shots to lead the Bruins. Mohsenian chipped in with 13 points, and Cusick and Myers added 12 each. Rinehart-Young just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 boards. Cusick passed out four assists.
While improving to 14-5 overall, 9-0 at home, and 8-2 in the conference, the Bruins recorded their 38th straight home win against NWC opponents in regular season play and 37th in a row counting post-season contests.
The Lutes seek to end their losing streak on Saturday night when they play the Pacific Boxers in Forest Grove, Ore.
(Courtesy of George Fox Sports Information Office.)