Written by Student Assistant Jake Bilyeu
NEWBERG, Ore. – The Pacific Lutheran University women's basketball team put a scare into defending Northwest Conference Champion George Fox University in the first half in the Lutes' final road game of the season on Saturday before running out of gas in a 78-51 setback inside the Wheeler Sports Center.
The Lutes (1-20, 0-12 NWC) raced out to an early 7-3 lead two minutes into the contest and held the lead for a majority of the quarter before Kylin Collman hit a free throw with 24 ticks left as the host Bruins (17-4, 9-3 NWC) led 13-12 heading into the second quarter. PLU kept within striking distance of George Fox in the second with Kristin Sturdivan hitting a three with 42 seconds remaining as the Bruins took a 32-27 lead into the halftime break.
PLU closed the deficit to just a single point on a Mackenzie Cooper jumper with 7:10 left in the third but the hosts scored 19 of the next 24 points, taking a 55-40 edge into the final stanza.
"The team played with a lot of heart and determination, and we scared them the first half," head coach Jennifer Childress said. "The score does not indicate the battle we put up tonight, in the fourth quarter we just ran out of gas."
Sturdivan and Lacey Nicholson led the Lutes in scoring with 12 points. Sturdivan tallied all of her points from beyond the arc while Nicholson finished six-for-12 from the field while grabbing a team-high eight rebounds. Samantha Kelleigh had 11 points and grabbed five steals while Kaelyn Voss distributed five assists.
The Lutes will return home to Olson Gymnasium for their final four games of the season. PLU hosts Whitworth University and Whitman College next weekend before welcoming Tacoma rival University of Puget Sound the following Tuesday.