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Sluggish Start Derails Lutes in Non-Conference Finale

Sluggish Start Derails Lutes in Non-Conference Finale

Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu

LAS VEGAS, Nev. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball team wrapped up 2016 and the Classic with a tough 83-55 setback against the University of Wisconsin Eau-Claire on Friday inside South Point Arena. A rough shooting afternoon plagued the Lutes, shot shot just 30.5 percent from the field while the Blugolds connected on 54.7 percent of their opportunities from the floor.

The Lutes (1-10) struggled offensively in the opening quarter, as the Blugolds scored the first 11 points of the game and led 20-7 after one quarter of action.

The Lutes kept pace with the Blugolds in the second, but were unable to cut into the lead. After a back and forth period, the Blugolds still maintained a 34-20 lead. UWEC enjoyed a 51-35 edge after three quarters before sprinted to the finish, scoring 32 points in the fourth. en route to the win. PLU had its best offensive quarter in the fourth, scoring 20 points but could not keep pace with the Blugolds down the stretch. 

"We came out with no intensity on defense and no connectivity on offense, and we can come up with a million excuses but the fact of the matter was we just didn't show up with energy," head coach Jennifer Childress said. "The first quarter deficit was too tough to overcome against a team that stayed composed and executed their stuff."

Kristin Sturdivan led the Lutes with 12 points, shooting five-of-eight from the field while also grabbing five rebounds. Lacey Nicholson added 11 points and two assists. Nicholson also received all-tournament honors.

Despite today's performance, the Lutes still gained tremendous experience to bring in the new year.

"The trip was a very positive experience, and we will look to come back in a couple years as this tourney was well ran and we were treated like royalty the whole time," Childress said. "Also we gained some valuable game experience in the close loss on Thursday, and individual experience and knowledge about how to play with intensity and focus for back to back days."

The team now looks to Northwest Conference play, which resumes next Friday when the Lutes host defending conference champion George Fox University at 6 p.m. inside Olson Gymnasium.

The last time the Lutes hosted the Bruins, they nearly pulled off an upset, and they'll be looking to do the same again Friday.

"The good thing is we have played a tough pre-season schedule and can anticipate the pressure and physicality our conference will bring," Childress said.