LUTES HEAD SOUTH: The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball team travels to Portland, Ore. Saturday night to face the ninth-ranked Lewis & Clark College Pioneers. The Lutes currently sit in eight-place in the Northwest Conference standings by way of a 4-9 mark in conference action. PLU holds a 7-15 overall record on the season. In the Lutes last outing Tuesday night against the University of Puget Sound, PLU held its own in the first half before UPS pulled away in the second half for a 64-50 victory. As the Lutes season begins to wrap up, PLU will look to finish strong and close out the season on a high note. Saturday night's game in Portland is scheduled to tip-off at 6 p.m.
LISTEN LIVE: Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Robertson will be courtside to call the remainder of the PLU home and road basketball games. Those games can be heard in the Tacoma area on KLAY 1180 AM, as well as online at www.golutes.com. Click on the Listen Live on the right side of the page and then on the appropriate link.
A LOOK AT THE PIONEERS: With a 20-2 mark on the season, the Lewis & Clark Pioneers hold the No. 9 spot in this week's D3Hoops.com Top 25 national poll. However, the Pio's do not stand on top of the conference standings as George Fox University (21-0, No. 3 nationally) holds the top spot with a perfect 12-0 mark in NWC action. L&C is led once again this season by guard Kristina Williams. The 2010-11 NWC Player of the Year is averaging 15 points per game in her senior season. Junior Sara Villanueva is putting together a nice year as well as the guard is averaging 11.5 points per contest. L&C has dominated the boards this year and is averaging a +11 rebounding margin in 2011-12.
LAST TIME THE TWO TEAMS MET: Pacific Lutheran rallied to within four points in the waning seconds before dropping a 57-51 Northwest Conference women's basketball decision to the Lewis & Clark Pioneers. The visiting Pioneers seemed to have things well in hand at 53-37 when Kristina Williams, converted a three-point play with 3:53 left in the contest. PLU, however, put on a furious rally in the closing minutes to create at least a little anxiety on the visitors' bench. Villanueva finally put an end to the rally, however, knocking down two free throws with seven seconds remaining. Samantha Potter led the Lutes with 19 points and eight rebounds, and Andi Adams had her top scoring performance by far with 15 points, including 6-for-6 from the charity stripe. PLU shot 37 percent (19-for-51) for the game and also lost the rebound battle, 39-33.
UPS 64, PLU 50: 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.