TACOMA, Wash. – Megan Arnoldy scored a game-high 21 points and the George Fox University defense held the University of Puget Sound Loggers to 25 percent shooting as Bruins clinched a share of third place in the Northwest Conference women's basketball standings with a regular season-ending 71-53 win Saturday night here at Memorial Fieldhouse.
George Fox improved to 19-6 overall and 12-4 in the conference, tied with Whitworth University, while Puget Sound ends its season 14-11 and tied for fifth with Pacific University at 7-9 in the NWC. The Bruins and Pirates split their season series, but the Bruins will be the No. 4 seed in the NWC Tournament because they lost twice to conference champion Lewis & Clark College while the Pirates split with the Pioneers.
George Fox will go to Lewis & Clark and Whitworth will travel to Whitman College for the NWC Tournament semi-finals on Thursday. The GF-L&C game is at 7:00 p.m., but the Whitworth-Whitman clash will tip off at 6:00 p.m. because the Whitman men will also be hosting a semi-final tournament game.
In the season finale, Emily Sheldon scored the first bucket of the game, but that was the only time the Loggers led. Arnoldy hit a jumper and made two free throws as the Bruins climbed ahead before another Sheldon basket tied it 4-4. Nicole Blizzard broke the tie with a three-pointer at the 17:19 mark in the first half, and the Bruins never trailed again.
A three by Arnoldy gave the Bruins a double-digit lead for the first time at 27-17 with 8:09 showing, and they built their largest lead of the period of 14 points at 34-20 on a layup by Hannah Munger with 3:25 left. The Loggers cut their deficit in half by scoring the last seven points to trail only 34-27 at the break, Kelsey McKinnis doing all the damage with a three-pointer and four free throws.
The teams swapped a pair of baskets each to open the second half, and the Loggers were still within nine at 42-33 after a Katy Ainslie layup with 15:44 to go. The Bruins raced off on a 9-0 run, however, to take a 51-33 lead with 12:31 left, Justine Benner spearheading the streak with a basket and two free throws.
The George Fox lead hit 20 points for the first time at 58-38 on a layup by Arnoldy with 7:41 remaining, and the Loggers got no closer than 15 the rest of the way. The Bruins three times held 21-point margins, the last at 1:46 when an Arnoldy free throw made it 69-58.
Arnoldy hit 8-11 from the floor with a three and 4-5 from the line for her big night, while Munger added 15 points for the Bruins. Munger also grabbed eight rebounds as the Bruins held a 48-37 advantage on the backboards. Jami Roos handed out three assists and made a pair of steals. George Fox wound up shooting .481 (26-54) from the field to only .258 (16-62) for Puget Sound.
McKinnis paced the Loggers with 14 points, including 8-8 from the charity stripe, while Taylor Jones contributed 11 points and Sheldon 10. Amanda Forshay and Erin Stumbaugh had seven rebounds each, Forshay and McKinnins had two assists each, and McKinnis made two steals.