Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
OLYMPIA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball team led by nine in the fourth quarter but was unable to stave off a late charge from host Evergreen State College on Wednesday night, falling 67-66 on a buzzer-beater inside the Costantino Rec Center.
The Lutes (0-3) opened the game with a strong first quarter, as they kept within striking distance of the Geoducks (1-4) throughout. Just as the Geoducks looked to surge ahead, Marleisha Cox scored two late buckets as the Lutes ended the first quarter trailing 15-12.
The Geoduck lead grew to as large as eight in the second quarter, but the Lutes never wavered, and a late steal and score by Kristin Sturdivan proved to be a big play as PLU entered the half down 31-26.
Needing a spark to get back into the game, the Lutes came out and dominated the third quarter. Lacey Nicholson led the Lutes through a 19-0 run, and PLU took a 49-42 lead into the final period.
Evergreen State would not go down without a fight. After the Lutes stretched their lead to nine, the Geoducks used an 8-0 to surge back into the game. Both sides traded baskets in the final minutes of the game until, with the clock winding down, the Geoducks rebounded a missed free throw from the Lutes and scored on a buzzer-beating shot from Chloee Hunt to steal a 67-66 win.
Lacey Nicholson led the Lutes with 18 points and eight rebounds. Samantha Kelleigh tallied 13 points while Julia Berenson came off the bench and scored eight points while grabbing three rebounds and three steals in 13 minutes of action.
"We battled. Especially in the second half," said Head Coach Jennifer Childress. "Lacey stood up to a halftime challenge and came out fighting for her team and attacked the basket well. Julia provided a huge spark for us in the third quarter both offensively and defensively!"
PLU generated 24 Evergreen State turnovers and owned a 29-15 edge in points off turnovers but was outrebounded by a 45-34 margin.
The Lutes can get some rest over Thanksgiving break before coming home for the first time this season to host Multnomah University at 6 p.m. on Tuesday inside Olson Gymnasium.