Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball squad was unable to overcome an early deficit on Saturday inside Olson Gymnasium, stumbling 68-42 to Northwest Conference rival Willamette University.
The Bearcats (9-4, 2-2 NWC) seized control from the opening tip with a 10-0 run to start the first. However, the Lutes (1-12, 0-4 NWC) responded with an 8-2 run of their own to pull within striking distance. Anna Hurd hit a jumper to get the spurt going before Lacey Nicholson converted a three-point play with a bucket and the foul. Marlesha Cox collected the final three points of the run, sinking a free throw before later hitting a jumper with 3:51 left in the first.
Willamette led just 16-12 after one quarter before the Bearcats pushed away again, stretching their lead to as high as 19 before the break and enjoyed a 34-19 halftime edge. The Lutes were unable to string together any offensive runs in the second half to close the gap and regain momentum, falling 68-42.
The Lutes had 12 players find the basket as Anna Hurd lead the way with eight points, along with six rebounds and two steals. Lacey Nicholson added seven points and six rebounds while Hayley Sonneson scored her first points of the season off of a driving shot just before the final buzzer sounded.
Outside shooting was the difference maker on Saturday. PLU shot just two-of-eight (25 percent) from outside while the Bearcats hit 11 of their 24 attempts (45.8 percent) from three-point range.
The Lutes now enter a four-game road stretch which begins next Friday at Whitman College. The Lutes won't return home to Olson Gymnasium until Friday, January 27th when they host Pacific University and begin the second half of conference play.