Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball team owned a lead for the opening 37 minutes of Tuesday's home opener against Multnomah University before eventually succumbing 69-64 inside Olson Gymnasium after the visiting Lions used a 16-4 run to end the game.
The Lutes (0-4) opened the game with a strong opening quarter, as Kristin Sturdivan led the way with 10 points in the quarter, allowing the team to jump ahead 21-13 after 10 minutes of action.
The Lions (2-5) tried to answer back with an early 7-0 run in the second, but the Lutes kept them at bay. Their offensive flow continued to provide, and the Lutes headed into the half with a 42-30 lead.
The Lions continued to battle back into the game, using a 10-1 run to tie the game late in the third quarter. PLU answered with a three-pointer from Samantha Kelleigh sparking a run of seven straight points to end the quarter up 56-49.
In the fourth, a seventh-minute field goal drought allowed the Lions to take their first lead of the game at 61-60 on a three from Sadie Jenks with 2:52 remaining. The Lutes kept contact with Multnomah before a turnover with 16 seconds left allowed the Lions to seal the win.
Kristin Sturdivan led the Lutes with a career-high 21 points, shooting three-for-five from three-point-range. Sturdivan and Kelleigh led the team in assists with four apiece. Marleisha Cox grabbed 12 boards, and Lacey Nicholson snagged four steals.
"I was very proud of our sophomores today," head coach Jennifer Childress said. "Unfortunately, our opponents got on a run, and we got a little anxious."
Despite the strongest start by the Lutes so far this season, the Lutes turned the ball over 27 times, while the Lions turned it over 13 times. Multnomah owned a 29-6 edge in points off turnovers while PLU won the rebounding battle, owning a 49-31 rebounding edge and a 17-6 advantage in second chance points.
The Lutes don't have to wait long for their next chance to improve their game, opening Northwest Conference play on the road this weekend. The Lutes travel to Lewis & Clark College on Friday for a 6 p.m, tilt and they'll follow it up by facing Pacific University at 4 p.m. on Saturday.