NEWBERG, Ore. – Jami Roos poured in a game-high 15 points, all in the second half, including four three-pointers as the 23rd-ranked George Fox University Bruins dispatched the University of Puget Sound Loggers 63-57 to keep pace in the Northwest Conference women's basketball race Friday night here at the Wheeler Sports Center's Miller Gym.
With its fifth straight win, George Fox improved to 13-3 overall and 6-1 in the conference, remaining half a game behind 8th-ranked and first-place Lewis & Clark College, which knocked off Pacific Lutheran University 69-37. Puget Sound slipped to 10-6 overall and 3-4 in the NWC.
Puget Sound built an early 6-2 lead on baskets by Katy Ainslie, Kelsey McKinnis and Emily Sheldon, but the Bruins roared back with 10 straight points to go up 12-6 with 14:33 left in the period. Megan Arnoldy hit a layup and a three-pointer from the top to put the Bruins ahead, Justine Benner added two free throws, and Hayley Cusick capped the outburst with a three from the right wing.
Four consecutive free throws by Hannah Munger enabled the Bruins to take their largest lead of the half at 16-8 with 12:46 to go, and they were still up six at 21-15 after Benner drained a three with 7:06 to play. Just over a minute later, Munger went down and out for the rest of the game when she twisted her right knee, the same one that knocked the Bruin All-American center out of last year's national championship game, and the Bruins went 0-for-15 from the field the rest of the half as the Loggers rallied. McKinnis led the charge, scoring six of the Loggers' 10 unanswered points as the visitors built a 25-21 halftime margin.
Ainslie opened the second half with a jumper as the Logger lead reached six before Megan Hays ended the Bruins' scoring drought with a free throw at the 19:14 mark. Hays added two more free throws, Cusick drove for two, and Roos nailed her first three to give the Bruins a 29-27 lead with 16:47 left. UPS momentarily regained the lead on a three by Olivia Roberts, but Roos drilled two more from downtown and McKenzie Wolfe powered in a goal as the Bruins moved in front 37-30 with 14:47 to play.
Arnoldy fed Hays inside for a layup as the Bruins took their first double-digit lead of 46-35 with 9:24 remaining. The home team lead twice reached 12 points, at 51-39 at 6:23 on another trey by Roos and again at 53-41 on a pair of Cusick free throws at 5:34. A Roberts three brought the Loggers within six at 55-49 with four minutes to play, but Cusick and Roos each hit a pair of free throws to extend the lead back to 10 at 59-49 with 2:47 to go. UPS eventually trimmed the deficit to five at 62-57 on a rebound basket by Sarah Stewart, but there were only 13 seconds left, and Benner added a Bruin free throw with 10 seconds left for the final score.
After shooting only .161 (5-31) in the first half, the Bruins improved dramatically in the second, hitting .481 (13-27). A big difference in free throws helped the Bruins as they made 19-of-26 (.731) in the game to 7-of-8 (.875) for the Loggers. UPS held a 45-41 advantage in rebounds, but the Bruins committed a season-low eight turnovers to 13 for the Loggers.
Roos hit 4-of-9 from three-point range and 3-of-4 from the line for her 15 points, and also had game highs of four assists and four steals. Cusick added 12 points, and Hays just missed a double-double with nine points and 10 boards, along with six blocked shots. Arnoldy led all players on the glass with 11 rebounds.
McKinnis was the only Logger in double figures in points with 10, while Stewart and Amanda Forshay grabbed 10 rebounds apiece. McKinnis, Stewart, and Sheldon passed out three assists each.
NEXT: George Fox hosts Pacific Lutheran while Puget Sound goes to Pacific University for conference games Saturday, both starting at 6:00 p.m. Each women's game will be followed by NWC men's games at 8:00 p.m., concluding the first half of conference play.