SALEM, Ore. - Katelyn Smith tallied 17 points and 12 rebounds to lead Pacific Lutheran to a 60-54 victory over the Willamette Bearcats in the Northwest Conference women's basketball opener for both team on Friday night in Cone Fieldhouse.
The first collegiate double-double for the sophomore post from Yelm helped the Lutes improve their overall record to 3-1 while handing Willamette its fifth straight loss to open the campaign.
Pacific Lutheran led through most of a very tight first half, but Willamette came on late in the period to take a 33-32 lead on Sophie Wilson's three-point basket with about 90 seconds left in the half. The Lutes went back on top on their next possession on Shelly Kilcup's trey, followed by an Austin Schorno jumper with 44 seconds left on the clock, to take a 37-33 lead into the intermission.
PLU never trailed in the final 20 minutes, and a little over five minutes into the second half had opened up a 52-38 advantage. Smith scored six points, Samantha Potter had five and Mackenzie Bieker tallied four during the run.
The Lutes maintained their double-digit lead until the final couple of minutes, but had a big enough advantage to hold off a late flurry by Willamette.
Smith finished the game shooting 8-for-17 from the floor and had five offensive boards among her dozen total. Potter came one rebound short of her third straight double-double as she finished the game with 12 points and nine rebounds. She was saddled with foul trouble and played only 21 minutes before fouling out. Shelly Kilcup also fouled out for the Lutes but scored 11 points before her night was through.
The Lutes shot 42 percent from the field (26-for-62) but ended up taking 13 less free throws than the Bearcats. Willamette, which got 12 points from MacKenzie Lamson, shot just 33 percent from the field (19-for-57).
PLU had a 41-35 advantage in rebounds in a sloppy game that saw the two teams combine for 45 turnovers.
The Lutes return to conference action at 6 p.m. Saturday when they face the Linfield Wildcats in McMinnville, Ore.
- PLU -