PARKLAND - Pacific Lutheran frosh Samantha Potter scored 21 points and grabbed 17 rebounds and the Lutes squeaked by the Whitworth University Pirates, 58-57, in a Northwest Conference women's basketball matchup Saturday in Olson Auditorium. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Lutes and came during PLU's Alumni Night.
The Lutes advanced to 5-15 overall (3-9 NWC) while the Pirates dropped to 10-11 overall (6-6 NWC).
PLU lead the Pirates, 23-13, with 7:13 left in the first half after a shot in the paint by Potter who scored 10 points and gathered eight rebounds in the first half.
Whitworth didn't stay down for long and went on a 13-3 scoring run to tie the game, 26-26, going into halftime. Whitworth's Emily Guthrie started the scoring streak with a three-point shot and she later scored two more quick buckets to help her team to a first-half comeback. The three PLU points all came from free-throws while the team missed eight shots from the field in the seven minute span.
PLU came out of the break with three quick shots and a free throw to regain a, 35-29 second-half lead. The Lutes continued to pound the ball inside allowing Potter to record a pair of points in the paint and Mackenzie Bieker to earn a layup also.
Whitworth battled back on the next possessions and tied the game, 39-39, after a seven-point swing in favor of the Pirates, including two three-pointers from Jamie Lyons.
PLU senior Mandy Wall broke the tie with two made free throws with 10:45 remaining in the game and the Lutes held a steady lead for the next eight minutes.
The Pirates fought back and tied the game with 2:43 left on a three-pointer by Emily Travis.
Sophomore Shelly Kilcup kept momentum for the Lutes after hitting a three-pointer while under pressure with just over two minutes on the clock. With PLU up by five, Guthrie scored two consecutive layups, cutting the Lute lead to one.
Whitworth had a chance for the final game-winning shot. After a PLU turnover by frosh Mahlet Tingley, the Pirates gained possession with the shot clock turned off. Travis tried to penetrate the lane but lost control of the ball. PLU junior Sara Backstrom came away with the ball for the steal and held the ball as time ran out and the Lutes locked down their 58-57 victory.
Kilcup finished with 20 points and six rebounds.
Travis scored 20 total points and Guthrie had 16 and six rebounds.
The Lutes pulled down more rebounds than the Pirates, 48-43, and shot 33 percent from the field while Whitworth shot 30 percent.
The Lutes return to action Feb. 8 at Puget Sound University at 6 p.m.
- PLU -
By Brendan Abshier, student assistant