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Lutes Make Ready to Face Pioneers

Katelyn Smith waits to check into the game.
Katelyn Smith waits to check into the game.

THIS WEEK: Pacific Lutheran University will host the Lewis and Clark Pioneers in a Northwest Conference game before going on the road for a week. The game will tip-off at 6 p.m. Friday, Jan. 13, in Olson Auditorium.

LIVE STATS: Live stats of every Pacific Lutheran home game are available and can be accessed on the site. Click on the Live Stats link on the right side of the page and then on the appropriate link.

LISTEN LIVE: Hall of Fame broadcaster Bob Robertson will be courtside to call the remainder of the PLU home and road basketball games. Those games can be heard in the Tacoma area on KLAY 1180 AM, as well as online at Click on the Listen Live on the right side of the page and then on the appropriate link.

BREAST CANCER AWARENESS HAS SPECIAL MEANING TO LUTES: The Lutes hosted the University of Puget Sound Loggers Tuesday night. While the Lutes were not able to stop the Loggers, who took a 65-58 win in OT, the game meant more than that to Shelly Kilcup of the Lutes, whose mother was recently diagnosed with breast cancer. In honor of Mrs. Kilcup and Breast Cancer Awareness Day, both Lutes basketball teams wore pink warm-up shirts and some sported pink shoe laces and/or socks during the games. At the start of the evening the Lutes had already raised $2,200 for the Kilcup family. Sophomore guard Allie Hamilton had promised that she would shave her head in support of the Kilcup family if the teams could raise $3,000. Proceeds from an auction for two autographed pink basketballs and T-shirt sales, combined with donations received throughout the game, helped increase the proceeds. With just about five minutes left to go in the women's game it was announced that funds had reached $3,081. By the end of the men's game, the funds had reached a little more than $3,600. All funds are going straight to the Kilcup family's medical expenses, and Hamilton did in fact have her head shaved by her teammates at halftime of the men's game.

EXPLORING WITH THE PIONEERS: Lewis and Clark women's basketball is ranked 10th in this week's women's Top 25 national poll. Sara Villinueva and Kristina Williams are two of the players who have made this possible for the Pioneers. Williams averages 15 points and 2.2 assists per game. Villinueva averages 12.2 points per game as well as 3.6 assists. Villanueva is ranked second for assists in NWC standings and Williams, the reigning NWC Player of the Year, is ranked sixth in points per game. The Pioneers last faced Linfield on Friday, Jan. 6, winning 57-46. After that game the Pioneers have a 12-1 record overall for the season and they are 3-1 in the conference standings, one game behind George Fox.

SERIES HISTORY: The Lutes and the Pioneers have faced off 62 times since the 1980 season. The series record is 43-19 with the Lutes in the lead, although they have lost the last four match ups between the teams.

POTTER DOUBLES HER FUN: After a rookie season that saw her average 10.0 points and a team-best 6.8 rebounds per game, sophomore post Samantha Potter is having another outstanding season for the Lutes. She leads the team in rebounding average (9.9) and is second in scoring average (16.4) and total steals (16). She has six double-doubles (points and rebounds) to her credit already this season, and three other times she has finished within one rebound of a double-double. Potter has led the Lutes in scoring seven times and in rebounding 11 times in the team's first 14 games. It is certainly worth noting that Potter currently leads all conference players with an average of 5.2 offensive rebounds per game.

NUMBERS TELL A LOT: Consider Shelly Kilcup's overall numbers to get a good picture of 5-foot 8-inch guard's value to this year's PLU team. She is second on the team in scoring average (14.1) and second in rebounding average (5.8). In addition, Kilcup leads the Lutes in blocked shots (12) and in steals (30). She has scored in double figures 11 times in the team's first 14 games. Kilcup has scored at least 20 points four times this season. One of the top three-point percentage shooters in Division III women's basketball last year, Kilcup had a slow start to the season in that regard, but she is starting to find the range from distance.

LUTE NOTES: The next two games against teams ranked in the Top 10 in Division III women's basketball - No. 10 Lewis & Clark and No. 3 and unbeaten George Fox - provide a huge challenge for Pacific Lutheran, which is struggling in the midst of a six-game losing streak. The last win for the Lutes, now 4-10 overall and 1-3 in the Northwest Conference, goes back to a non-conference game at Evergreen State on Dec. 17.

MORE LUTE NOTES: Senior point guard Sara Backstrom currently ranks third among Northwest Conference players with an average of 3.3 assists per game, while junior guard Mackenzie Bieker is tied for seventh with 2.9 assists per contest. Bieker ranks 10th in turnover-to-assist ratio at 1.5.

UPS 65, PLU 58: Pacific Lutheran rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit only to eventually drop a 65-58 overtime decision Tuesday night in a Northwest Conference women's basketball game played at Olson Auditorium. The Lutes put together a furious second half rally after a first-half stretch that saw them go without a point for 10 minutes and 15 seconds. PLU took a 10-7 lead on Samantha Potters fastbreak layin with 15:19 left in the opening period before a scoring drought that saw 10 misses shots and six turnovers. In the meantime, Puget Sound took a 16-point lead at 39-23 on a three-point bucket by Kelsey McKinnis with 14:33 remaining in the game, but the Lutes whittled away at their deficit, getting to within a point at 45-44 on Potter's three-point play with just under five minutes left. The Loggers kept the lead until the closing minute when Katelyn Smith knocked down a free throw to tie it at 54-54 with 56 seconds on the clock, neither team scored in the final seconds. In the overtime, the visitors scored the first four points on free throws before Potter's layup pulled the Lutes to within two points. Samantha Potter had a huge game for the Lutes with 29 points and 18 rebounds. She shot 12-for-19 from the floor and hit all five of her free throws. Smith added 14 points for the Lutes.

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