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February 7, 2012

Good For A Half, But Lutes Can't Hang With UPS

TACOMA - Pacific Lutheran battled host Puget Sound on even terms through the opening 20 minutes on Tuesday night, but second half shooting woes proved too much to overcome as the Lutes dropped a 64-50 Northwest Conference women's basketball decision to the Loggers.

With the defeat, PLU falls to 7-15 overall and 4-9 in the conference. Puget Sound, which earlier this year defeated the Lutes in overtime, are now 12-10 overall and 8-5 in the conference.

The Lutes started out on fire, hitting eight of their first 12 shots. Sara Backstrom drained a pair of long threes and Katelyn Smith had seven points in the early going. Smith converted a three-point play with 7 1/2 minutes gone in the opening half to put the team on top, 19-10. It was PLU's largest lead of the game.

Kelsey McKinnis drained a pair of three-point shots in the next minute to cut Puget Sound's deficit to three points, but Pacific Lutheran kept the lead until just under five minutes left. Jocelyn Riordan hit a pair of free throws with 4:46 to tie the game for the first time, and the Loggers took their first lead about a minute later when Amanda Forshay hit an 8-foot jumper to make it 27-25. Puget Sound eventually took a 33-31 lead into the halftime break.

Forshay opened the second half with a three-point basket, part of an 11-0 Puget Sound run that made the score 44-31 and broke the game open. PLU never got closer than seven points and trailed by as many as 21 in the second half.

The Lutes did put together one last run, cutting a 21-point deficit to 13 with eight straight points, but Riordan drained a three late in the shot clock to end the run and put the game away with a little more than two minutes left.

After starting out so hot from the field, the Lutes ended up shooting 11-for-37 over the last 32 minutes to finish the game with 39 percent accuracy (19-for-49).

Potter recorded her 11th double-double of the season with 16 points and 13 rebounds. Smith added 12 points for the Lutes, who also got nine points from Shelly Kilcup. The Lutes hurt their cause by committing 23 turnovers.

McKinnis led her team with 18 points and Riordan added 14. The Loggers shot 37 percent from the field (23-for-62), but they were deadly from the foul line, making 13 of their 14 attempts.

The Lutes play their final road game of the season on Saturday night when they head to Portland, Ore., to face the Lewis & Clark Pioneers, who are ranked ninth in Division III women's basketball.

- PLU -