Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
SALEM, Ore. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball squad opened up its final road trip of the season with a tough 71-41 setback against Willamette University on Friday inside Cone Fieldhouse. The Lutes showed strength in the opening minutes was unable to keep pace with the Bearcats down the stretch.
The Lutes (1-18, 0-11 Northwest Conference) snagged early turnovers and held a one-point lead over the hosts midway through the first quarter. However, the Bearcats (11-9, 4-7 NWC) opened up the Lute defense from the outside and closed the quarter with a five-point lead.
After their opening charge was fended off by the Bearcats, the Lutes struggled to counter. The Bearcats held the Lutes to 16 total points over the next two quarters. The Lute offense recovered in the fourth, but the Bearcats had long since secured the win.
"For the first five minutes we came out and played great defense, transitioned well and showed a will to compete," Head Coach Jennifer Childress said. "Then we started over thinking on offense stood around and went flat. We lost all momentum and rolled over."
Kristin Sturdivan led the Lutes with nine points shooting four-for-eight from the field. Lacey Nicholson contributed seven rebounds and four steals to lead the Lutes on the defensive end. While the Lutes won the turnover battle and grabbed more offensive rebounds, the team shot just 30.4 percent (17-for-56) to the Bearcats' 51.1 percent (13-for-18).
"I hope we are able to play with some extra energy tomorrow," Childress said. "It seems like we took this 40 minute opportunity for granted tonight."
The Lutes take the court against George Fox University at 4 p.m. Saturday to try to end their final road trip with an upset.