PLU Women's Hoops Falls to Linfield in Finale

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PARKLAND - A late rally sparked by a pair of seniors playing their final game came up short Saturday night as Pacific Lutheran dropped a 64-58 Northwest Conference women's basketball decision to Linfield in Olson Auditorium.

The Lutes (6-18 overall, 4-12 conference) trailed 64-47 with 2:00 minutes left in the game before they put together one last surge. Samantha Potter sandwiched a pair of baskets around a fastbreak layup by Melissa Pixler to get the Lutes within 11 points. Still down by that many inside the final 30 seconds, the Lutes scored on a layup by senior Mandy Wall with 22 seconds left. Wall then stole the ball and fed it to senior teammate Jordan Westering, who buried a three-pointer from the left wing, cutting the PLU deficit to six.

After a pair of missed Linfield free throws, Westering tried one more three, but it rimmed out and Linfield grabbed the rebound and ran out the final seconds.

The Wildcats (13-11, 8-8), who earlier this year ended a 30-game losing streak to PLU, led throughout the first half in taking a 29-24 advantage at the half. The Lutes took their only lead of the contest with 16:10 to play when Sara Backstrom hit a pair of free throws to make it 32-31.

The visitors responded with a decisive 14-0 run, including eight points from Micha Pringle, to take a 45-32 lead with 10 minutes left in the game. PLU got its deficit to eight points before Linfield took the aforementioned 17-point lead with two minutes left, leaving the hosts too big of a deficit to overcome.

Gretchen Owens, the conference's leading scorer, led all players in this game with 18 points, and she made it a double-double night with 12 rebounds. Owens also contributed three assists and three steals while playing all 40 minutes. Pringle dded 15 points and Kaely Maltman had 12 for the Wildcats, who shots 45 percent (21-for-47) from the field and 90 percent (19-for-21) from the foul line.

Westering, Potter and Backstrom all had 11 points to lead the Lutes, whose top rebounder was Potter with nine. Wall had nine points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals in her final PLU game.

The Lutes shot 39 percent (22-for-57) from the floor and just 44 percent (7-for-16) from the charity stripe. Linfield grabbed 31 of its 35 total rebounds on the defensive end, while the Lutes finished with 31 total rebounds, 23 on the defensive side.

- PLU -