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December 31, 2012

PLU Rides Three-Game Winning Streak Back Into NWC Play

COMING UP: Pacific Lutheran carries a three-game winning streak into the new year when it returns to Northwest Conference action Wednesday night against the host Puget Sound Loggers in Memorial Fieldhouse. The Lutes and Loggers renew their long-time rivalry starting at 6 p.m. PLU continues conference play on Saturday night when it plays the Linfield Wildcats in McMinnville, Ore.

FOLLOW THE LUTES: All of Pacific Lutheran's Northwest Conference games can be heard live in the local area on KLAY 1180 AM with Bob Robertson serving as "Voice of the Lutes" for the 16th straight year. The broadcasts can also be heard online at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/plu.portal#. PLU basketball broadcasts are produced by Pioneer Radio and Sports.

LIVE VIDEO AND LIVE STATS: Puget Sound provides a live video stream at http://client.stretchinternet.com/client/ups.portal# and live stats at http://www2.pugetsound.edu/athletics/live/basketball/xlive.htm.

PLU VS. PUGET SOUND: The Loggers own a 43-24 lead in the all-time series against Pacific Lutheran and have won 11 of the last 12 between the two programs, including seven straight. Pacific Lutheran's only win during that streak came by a convincing 69-36 score the first time the teams played during the 2008-09 season. Last year, Puget Sound recorded 65-58 and 64-50 wins against PLU.

ABOUT THE LOGGERS: This year's Puget Sound team enters Wednesday's game with a 7-4 overall record and a 0-2 mark in the conference after early December losses at Whitman (66-52) and Whitworth (72-59). Senior guard Kelsey McKinnis currently ranks second in the Northwest Conference with an average of 18.2 points per game. Senior post Sarah Steward averages 9.6 points and 7.5 rebounds per game for the Loggers. 

LUTE NOTES: After a relatively slow start to the season, junior post Samantha Potter is again putting up impressive numbers with averages of 14.2 points and 10.2 rebounds per game. Last season, Potter earned second team all-conference honors after averaging a double-double with averages of 16.8 points and 10.9 rebounds per game. While Potter is the only Pacific Lutheran player averaging more than 10 points per game, there is excellent scoring balance with three players averaging at least 8.5 points - freshman guard Megan Abdo and sophomore guard Kara Sherman at 8.8 each and sophomore guard Andi Adams at 8.5. Abdo and junior guard Austin Schorno are both averaging at least 3.0 assists per game, while Sherman leads a foursome of Lutes - including Potter, Adams and Abdo - with at least 14 total steals this season. Where the Lutes have been particularly impressive is on the boards, averaging 5.2 more rebounds per game than their opponents. Chrissy Swope contributes 5.4 rebounds while Abdo chips in 5.2 per contest.

ABOUT LINFIELD: The Wildcats, who play conference powerhouse George Fox on Friday night, are 1-6 overall and 0-1 in the conference. The team was forced to cancel a pair of games scheduled for late November in California after most of the team became ill from suspected food poisoning. Katelyn Henson, a sophomore guard, leads her team with 10.3 points per game. The Lutes have a clear advantage in the all-time series, 46-20, but Linfield has won the five most recent games after ending a 30-game PLU winning streak. Last year the Wildcats defeated PLU by 59-48 and 66-61 scores.

PLU 65, PRESENTATION 60: Led by a trio of players with double figures in both points and rebounds, Pacific Lutheran defeated Presentation College, 65-60, on Dec. 20 at the 2012 Daytona Beach Shootout. Samantha Potter recorded her fifth consecutive double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds, Megan Abdo had her second straight double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and Kara Sherman notched her first collegiate double-double with 16 points to go along with 11 rebounds. This was a game of runs as twice PLU built big leads, only to see Presentation battle to make it close down the stretch. Presentation rallied to take a 57-56 lead with 2:26 to play, and with the game on the line the Lutes went to Potter, their all-conference post player, who hit consecutive shots to put PLU ahead 60-57 with 1:28 left. Pacific Lutheran held onto the lead at the foul line with 5-for-8 accuracy inside the final 38 seconds. Austin Schorno had eight points, three blocks and three steals for PLU.

PLU 55, BERRY 53: With a 55-53 victory on Dec. 21 against Berry College, Pacific Lutheran finished the 2012 Daytona Beach Shootout with two wins and no losses. Katelyn Smith, a junior post, had her best game of the young campaign since returning from last year's season-ending knee injury and subsequent surgery. Smith tied Megan Abdo for team scoring honors with 12 points, and she led the way with nine rebounds, all in 22 minutes of action. Smith made big plays with two assists and a basket in the final 2 1/2 minutes to help PLU secure the victory. Abdo, a freshman point guard, had another strong game for Pacific Lutheran with 12 points, seven rebounds, three assists and three steals. Samantha Potter added 10 points and nine rebounds and Kara Sherman contributed eight points, six rebounds and six steals.

POTTER NAMED TO ALL-TOURNAMENT TEAM: Samantha Potter earned 2012 Daytona Beach Shootout All-Tournament honors for her outstanding and consistent play in the Lutes' two wins. She averaged 14.0 points and 10.5 rebounds in the contests.

COACH KELLY ROBINSON SAYS: "The Daytona Tournament proved to be a great trip to wrap up December and prepare for conference in January. It was good to see other Division III opponents from other conferences. We had several players step up for us including Kara Sherman and Megan Abdo who each had double-doubles against Presentation. Katelyn Smith also stepped up nicely for us and Sam Potter received all-tournament honors for her consistent play. As a whole the team held on to win both games against teams that came charging back which showed a lot of maturity and composure."

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