Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball team was unable to match the opening intensity of 15th-ranked Whitman College on Saturday afternoon, closing out the weekend with a 73-43 setback in a Northwest Conference clash inside Olson Gymnasium.
The Lutes (1-22, 0-14 NWC) used a solid defensive front in the first half, as Whitman (20-3, 11-3 NWC) only hit 35.5 percent (11-for-31) of its shots in the opening half. However, the Lutes also had their share of struggles, hitting just seven of their 28 shots (25.0 percent) while also committing 12 turnovers. Lauren Furu provided some energy off the bench, but the Lutes entered the half trailing 34-18.
Whitman's offense rebounded in the second half and began stretching their lead outside of the Lutes' reach. The Lute offense was able to hit a few shots from the outside in the second half, but their shooting struggles and lack of trips to the free-throw line ultimately made the difference. The Lutes did break out their full court press again late in the fourth to great success, but the game had already been decided, as the Blues went on to secure the win.
Lacey Nicholson proved to be the heart of the Lute offense again tonight, leading the way with 11 points, while also grabbing three rebounds and two steals. Samantha Kelleigh also found her shooting touch in the second half to add eight points of her own.
The Lutes now enter the final week of the season. They'll host current conference leader University of Puget Sound on Tuesday at 6 p.m., and then they'll welcome Linfield College on Friday for Senior Night, also at 6 p.m.