PARKLAND – Lewis & Clark showed why it is the No. 10-ranked team in Division III women's basketball on Saturday night with a convincing 79-53 Northwest Conference win over Pacific Lutheran in Olson Auditorium.
The Pioneers, the NWC regular season champions, improved to 23-2 overall and 14-2 in the conference, and will now prepare for next week's conference postseason tournament. PLU's season ended with a 6-17 overall record, including a 3-13 mark in the conference.
The Lutes stayed with the Pioneers through the first nine minutes, and in fact PLU took a 10-8 lead on a three-pointer by Kara Sherman with about five minutes gone in the opening half. Kristina Williams scored consecutive layups to put the Pioneers on top, and they never again trailed.
PLU pulled within a point at 12-11 on a Sarah Barnes free throw with 14:00 on the clock, but the Lutes went without a point for the next five minutes as Lewis & Clark opened up an 18-11 lead. Barnes hit another free throw to make the score 18-12 with 9:03 in the half, but the Pioneers ran off the next 13 consecutive points to build a 31-12 lead about 3 ½ minutes later. Of the 13 points, eight came on layups as the Pioneers consistently sliced through the PLU defense for easy baskets.
After leading 41-20 at the half, Lewis & Clark eventually led by as many as 34 points in the final half. When Casey Zinn hit a three-point basket with 7:54 left to play, the Pios led 69-35.
Pacific Lutheran continued to battle and eventually got to within 22 points at 73-51 when Samantha Potter hit a pair of free throws with 2:19 to play, but the game had long since been decided by that point.
Kristina Williams, the reigning Northwest Conference Player of the Year, led four players in double figure with 18 points. Zinn scored 13, Sara Villanueva added 12 and Katie Anderson scored 11 off of the bench. Zinn led her team with eight rebounds and the Pios enjoyed a 42-31 advantage on the boards, with 17 coming on the offensive end.