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Pacific Makes Late Run Work in Win Over PLU

Sara Backstrom (23)
Sara Backstrom (23)

PARKLAND - Visiting Pacific University parlayed an 8-0 run in the closing minutes Friday night to defeat Pacific Lutheran, 66-58, in a Northwest Conference women's basketball game played in Olson Auditorium.

The Boxers (13-10 overall, 6-9 NWC) scored eight unanswered points over a 90-second period to decide the outcome. Heather Hitch hit a free throw with 2:11 to play, and Erica Colter scored two more from the line to get the run started. Paige Jensen scored the next three points on a free throw and jumper, and Kaila Johnson ended the spurt with two more charity tosses.

At that point, Pacific held a 63-53 lead with 42 seconds remaining. Facing a difficult task in the closing seconds, the Lutes managed a jumper by Mackenzie Bieker and a late three from Shelly Kilcup, but that was all they could muster as the Boxers came up with blocks from Erica Schultz and Hitch.

Pacific led throughout the first seven minutes of the game until Katelyn Smith hit a jumper in the lane to put the Lutes on top, 12-11. The Boxers regained the lead at 22-16 on Annette Highley's three-point shot with 5:34 on the clock, only to see the hosts scored 11 straight points to take a 27-22 lead. Sara Backstrom, a senior who ends her collegiate career on Saturday night, hit a three and followed with a jumper to cap the rally.

The Lutes eventually held a 27-25 halftime lead.

PLU took a 49-44 advantage on a three-point bucket by Andi Adams with 8:46 remaining in the game, but the Boxers ran off nine unanswered points to take a lead they would not relinquish. Schultz hit a trey and a jumper to highlight the spurt.

Samantha Potter recorded her 13th double-double of the season for the Lutes, collecting game bests of 18 points and 13 rebounds. Backstrom scored nine of her 11 points in the first half, and she also contributed six assists for the Lutes. Shelly Kilcup had nine rebounds and eight points for the hosts.

Pacific Lutheran shot 40 percent (25-for-62) from the field, including 27 percent (4-for-15) from three-point range. The Lutes shot only four free throws and made all of those.

Kaila Johnson led the Boxers with 16 points, followed by Jensen with 14 and Schultz with 13. Jensen led her team with 11 rebounds.

The Boxers' field goal shooting matched PLU's exactly, but they were 7-for-18 from long range and 9-for-16 from the foul line.

PLU concludes its season at 6 p.m. Saturday when it hosts 24-0 and No. 3-ranked George Fox in Olson Auditorium.

- PLU -