Pirates Watch Second Half Lead Slip Away

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TACOMA, Wash. – Jocelyn Riordan only scored 10 points for Puget Sound, but all ten points came over the final 10 minutes of the game to lead the Loggers back from a seven-point deficit into a 74-68 win over visiting Whitworth in a Northwest Conference women's basketball game on Saturday at Memorial Field House.

Lexi Belcher scored a career-high 21 points to lead the Pirates (5-8 overall, 1-3 NWC), who were trying to earn their first-ever NWC road sweep of the league's Tacoma schools.

The tightly-played first half included six ties and ten lead changes.  Kendra Lahue gave Whitworth its largest lead of the half (18-12) with her jumper with nine minutes to go.  But the Loggers (7-6, 3-1) outscored the Bucs 10-2 over the next four minutes to grab a 22-20 lead on a basket by Amanda Forshay.   Whitworth recovered and the teams traded leads four times before the Pirates took a 30-28 halftime lead when Lauren Picha scored just before the horn.

Whitworth took control of the game in the early going of the second half, opening a 45-38 lead on a long three-pointer by Emily Guthrie with just under 14 minutes to play.  But then UPS went on a game-turning 16-3 run over the next six minutes, taking a 54-48 advantage with 8:32 to go.  Riordan sparked the run with her first basket.

The Bucs made two final runs at the Loggers, first getting back within 56-55 on a three-pointer by Katara Belton-Sharp with under seven minutes left.  But UPS would take its largest lead of nine points (66-57) when Lindsay Layland converted a three-point play with under five minutes to play.  Whitworth came back one final time, pulling within 70-67 on a basket by Picha with 1:10 to go.  The Loggers made 4-6 from the free throw line in the final minute and Whitworth could not get closer.

Belcher topped her previous career high of 20 points, which she reached four times.  She also led the Pirates with nine rebounds.  Picha finished with 15 points and seven rebounds, while Guthrie totaled eight points and three assists.

Forshay led UPS with 15 points and Kelsey McKinnis scored 12.  Riordan, a two-time All-NWC selection, scored all ten of her points in the final ten minutes.

Whitworth will return home to host Pacific (Ore.) and Linfield in a pair of Northwest Conference contests next Friday and Saturday at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.