McMINNVILLE, Ore. - Linfield ended a long string of futility against Pacific Lutheran in Northwest Conference women's basketball action on Friday night with a 73-59 victory over the visiting Lutes in Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Gretchen Owens scored 32 points and Kaely Maltman added 23 as the Wildcats ended a 30-game losing streak to the Lutes. The streak dates all the way back to the first of two games between the teams during the 1995-96 season when Linfield beat PLU, 94-79. At the time, that win was Linfield's ninth straight over Pacific Lutheran. Later that season, the Lutes beat the 'Cats, 76-49, and added win after win until the streak ended tonight.
Owens, a 5-8 junior guard, came into the game leading the conference in scoring at 19.4 points per game, and she added to that number. Owens was 14-for-21 from the field and 3-for-4 from the foul line in scoring 32 points. She also tied teammate Chrissy Baumgartner for game-high rebounding honors with eight.
Maltman was the primary beneficiary of an astounding free throw differential, shooting 15-for-16 on her way to 23 points. Linfield made the most of 23 PLU fouls by shooting 24-for-30 from the charity stripe. The Lutes, meanwhile, made their only foul shot as Linfield was whistled for just six fouls in the game.
With the win, the Wildcats improve to 4-3 in the Northwest Conference and 9-6 overall. The Lutes fall to 2-5 in conference action and 4-11 overall.
With the game tied at 16-16, Linfield took the lead on a pair of free throws from Maltman at the 10:06 mark and never looked back. The club stretched the lead to as many as eight, and held a 36-31 advantage at halftime.
After the break, Pacific Lutheran methodically chipped away at the margin, cutting the lead to two on a three-point basket by Kilcup with 15:43 left on the clock. Linfield got the lead back to eight after a steal and layup. Another three-pointer from Kilcup cut the lead to five, but Linfield went on an 11-4 run to close the game.
The Wildcats took better care of the ball, turning the ball over 14 times to Pacific Lutheran's 22 miscues.
PLU, loser of four straight games and 10 of its last 11, will try to get back on the winning side of the ledger tomorrow night when it faces host Willamette University in Salem, with tipoff set for 6 p.m.
- PLU -