Written by Student Assistant Christian Bond
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball team was within a possession of Pacific University with 48 seconds left in Friday's Northwest Conference tilt inside Olson Gymnasium but the visiting Boxers were ultimately able to hang on and bite the Lutes, 58-54.
The Lutes held a lead for the majority of the first half. A layup from the Boxer's Sarah Curl put the Lutes down 26-25 at halftime. Kristin Sturdivan gave the Lutes (1-17, 0-9 NWC) a boost in the third quarter. The sophomore rattled off three three-pointers, finishing the game with 12 points, going four-for-six for deep. PLU trailed 50-40 with 4:17 left in the game before going on a 9-5 run that lasted 3:17 and was capped off by a Samantha Kelleigh three to bring the hosts within three with under a minute to go. The run wasn't enough as the Boxers (5-13, 3-6 NWC) hit their free throws down the stretch to escape with the win.
"We brought a desire to win," PLU head coach Jennifer Childress said. "Not just to go out and play, but to play to win. We came out with it in our brains that we were playing to win this game."
Lacey Nicholson led the Lutes with 19 points, going five-for-13 from the field. Nicholson was at the free throw line early and often. She finished the game with a total of 14 attempts, converting on nine of them. The senior added seven rebounds, two steals, and an assist.
"Being as undersized as she is, she's tough to defend," Childress said. "She's quick off the dribble, she has some great moves underneath. She got to the free throw line anytime she wanted. You just can't find a kid with a bigger heart."
Samantha Kelleigh had a nice night for the Lutes, scoring seven points, grabbing two rebounds while dishing out three assists. Kaelyn Voss was everywhere for the Lutes. The senior scored four points, had three rebounds, and snagged three steals. She passed the ball well, assisting her teammates six times.
Anna Hurd scored four points, including a big shot to bring the team to within six with 1:05 left in the game. She also grabbed six rebounds. Marleisha Cox scored four points and had five rebounds. Mackenzie Cooper and Kendall Adams each scored two points.
The Lutes return to action tomorrow against Lewis & Clark College. Tip off is scheduled for 4 p.m.
"I want them to bring the same energy and desire to win. We'll face a little more athletic team tomorrow in Lewis & Clark. We've got to come back fresh and be ready to run the track meet with them, because that's what it's going to be."