Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
FOREST GROVE, Ore. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball wrapped up its first Northwest Conference weekend on Saturday inside the Stoller Center, falling 67-51 to host Pacific University. While the Lutes didn't get the exact result that they wanted, they still showed significant signs of improvement that will surely benefit them as the season continues.
The host Boxers (3-3, 1-1 NWC) opened the game on a 10-1 run. Needing to fire back, the Lutes (0-6, 0-2 NWC) took off on an 11-1 run, briefly taking the lead on a three-pointer from Julia Berenson before the Boxers countered with a three of their own. Kristin Sturdivan then drilled a buzzer-beating jump shot to even things up at 14 after one quarter of action.
The Boxers defense dominated the second quarter, limiting the Lutes to just three field goals and stretching their lead to 29-20 at the half.
Pacific Lutheran fought its way back into the game after halftime. Sturdivan led the way, sinking three shots from downtown in the quarter, as the Lutes came within one point of the Boxer lead. However, the Boxers turned the game in their favor, as Lauren Lykins scored on two three-point shots on consecutive possessions to put host Pacific up 44-37 entering the final period.
Both sides traded free throws and buckets at the start of the fourth. However, the Boxers kept their steady offensive attack alive for the whole quarter, and the Lutes went four minutes without a field goal, ultimately falling 67-51.
"Our players came in and battled tough for three quarters, but Pacific countered our comeback runs with very timely big shots and we weren't able to gain the lead," head coach Jennifer Childress. "Tonight was a huge improvement from last night's game, as our defensive effort and communication were much better than before, but we definitely need to continue getting better at blocking out and securing rebounds when we are outsized."
Kristin Sturdivan led the way for the Lutes tonight with 16 points on six-for-12 shooting, followed by Lacey Nicholson who added 12 points, going five-for-nine from the field. Marleisha Cox also showed strength on the boards, grabbing nine rebounds, including six on the offensive end. Kaelyn Voss tallied seven points while securing five rebounds and collecting two steals.
"Kristin had a great game and showed her continued progress in being on offensive threat," Childress said. "Lacey was a true leader keeping our team composed while playing tough defense on Pacific's best scorer."
The Lutes will return home to host Warner Pacific University on Thursday at 6 p.m.