Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball team finished off a weekend in eastern Washington with a tough setback against Northwest Conference rival Whitworth University. The Lutes were within striking distance after three quarters of play but the hosts took control in the final 10 minutes for the 66-43 win.
The Pirates (7-8, 3-3 NWC) held the edge for most of the first half, leading by as much as 13, but the Lutes (1-14, 0-6 NWC) emerged with a strong run to end the third quarter to pull within six, outscoring the Pirates 19-13 over the course of the third period. The run was led by Anna Hurd, who scored six of the team's 19 points for the quarter while grabbing three of their six rebounds.
However, the Lute offense fell stagnant in the fourth. After Julia Berenson scored the first bucket of the quarter, the Lutes went on a four minute scoring drought. Lacey Nicholson ended the drought with a layup, only for the Lutes to go on another four minute drought. By that time, the damage had already been done with Whitworth securing the victory.
While the Lutes committed fewer turnovers than the Pirates, inside shooting and rebounding cost the Lutes. The team shot 28.8 percent from the field (15-for-52), and allowed the Pirates to grab 14 offensive rebounds while only snagging three of their own.
"The team played with heart," head coach Jennifer Childress said. "Our missed lay ups and Whitworth's second chance points ultimately cost us the game."
Lacey Nicholson and Anna Hurd proved their reliability by leading the team's offense again on Saturday night. Nicholson led with 12 points and three steals, while Anna Hurd contributed 11 points and nine rebounds. Still, it was the Lutes lack of size that plagued them as it has all season.
"We have to find it in us to power through contact and finish," Childress said. "We also must become more physical against the bigger teams and block out."
The Lutes have to work quickly before their next game. PLU returns to Tacoma and takes on crosstown rival University of Puget Sound on the road this Tuesday at 6 p.m.