Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
TACOMA, Wash. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball team opened Northwest Conference play inside Olson Gymnasium with a tough 72-44 setback to eighth-ranked Whitman College on Friday night. The Lutes now hope to rebound and split the weekend with a victory against Whitworth University on Saturday evening.
The Lutes (1-3, 0-1 NWC) enjoyed an early lead with a Madison Salisbury free throw giving the hosts the 7-6 edge with 4:24 left in the opening quarter. PLU trailed by just three, 14-11, at the conclusion of the opening quarter before the Blues (5-1, 1-0 NWC) pulled away way, building a 32-22 halftime advantage.
Madison Salisbury provided strength with her inside game for the Lutes (1-3, 0-1 NWC), and it paid off for her. Salisbury finished with 17 points and seven rebounds. She hit six of her 11 shots, and sunk five of her seven free-throws on the night.
Kylie Rademacher followed Salisbury up with eight more points on the inside, shooting four-of-five from the field. Behind her, Emma Janousek and Mackenzie Cooper added six points apiece, while combining for four assists and five steals.
Still, despite some standout performances, head coach Jennifer Childress was hoping to see a little more firepower out of her team.
"I felt like we played very scared and intimidated," Childress said. "It looked like we stepped on the court with too much hope and not enough determination, and Whitman was more aggressive and physical than we were."
Hoping to make a good first impression against Whitworth, their second conference foe so far this season, the Lutes look to play with more confidence on the court on Saturday.
"We have nothing to lose, and so we need to make the most of our opportunities on the court," Childress said. "We reverted back to some old habits today, and I'm hoping that we can flip the switch tomorrow and play much more aggressively."
The Lutes welcome the Pirates to Olson Gymnasium on Saturday at 4 p.m. to close out the opening weekend of conference play.