Lutes Hit 6 of 9 Free Throws in Final 1:05 to Edge Bearcats 54-50

Willamette Leads 26-18 at Halftime, but Lutes Rally for Narrow Win

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

PARKLAND, WASH. -- Pacific Lutheran University held a 48-45 lead over Willamette University with 2:17 remaining, and the Lutes hit 6 of 9 free throws the rest of the way, as PLU defeated the Bearcats, 54-50, in a Northwest Conference game on Saturday, Jan. 12 at Olson Auditorium.

The Lutes improved to 6-7 on the season, including 3-3 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 0-14 overall, 0-5 in the conference.

Willamette owned a 26-18 advantage at the half, but the Lutes scored the first nine points of the second period to move in front, 27-26.

PLU led the rest of the game, but couldn't shake the Bearcats, who trailed by three points or less numerous times in the final 15 minutes.

Katelyn Smith topped the PLU scoring chart with 19 points on 8 of 17 shooting. Chrissy Swope added 12 points and Megan Abdo chipped in 10 points for the Lutes. PLU achieved a 58-44 rebounding margin, led by Samantha Potter with 12 boards, Swope with 10 and Abdo with nine.

Willamette held Potter scoreless on 0 for 8 shooting. Potter began the night as PLU's leading scorer with 13.5 points per game.

The Bearcats received 13 points from Mackenzie Lamson (Jr., F, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS), while Katie Kalugin (So., F, Woodburn, OR/Woodburn HS) provided 10 points. Rebecca Josephson (Jr., G, Fair Oaks, CA/Del Campo HS) supplied seven points and a team-high eight rebounds.

PLU led 5-1 at the 17:29 mark, but Willamette scored the next six points, including four by Kalugin, to take a 7-5 advantage. After the Lutes tied the game with a layup by Abdo, the Bearcats responded with six more points for a 13-7 edge. Josephson tallied the first four points and Ali Babij (Fr., F, Ontario, OR/Ontario HS) completed the 6-0 run.

Willamette maintained the lead for the remainder of the half. The Bearcats earned their first eight-point margin of the night when Lamson sank two free throws with 8:07 on the clock for an 18-10 lead.

The Bearcats gained some of their early advantage at the free throw line, where they hit 6 of 8 attempts in the first 20 minutes. WU had just two free throw attempts in the second half. Pacific Lutheran was just 1 of 4 at the line in the first half, but went 8 of 13 on charity shots in the second half.

Smith keyed the Lutes' comeback right after halftime ended. During the 9-0 run, she scored on an old-fashioned 3-point play, earned a layup on a fastbreak and put in a jumper.

Lamson scored next for Willamette to give the Bearcats a 28-27 lead, but the Lutes tallied the next four points on baskets by Smith and Swope to move in front.

The Lutes established their largest lead, 41-35, following a 3-point basket by Abdo with 10:59 remaining. Willamette reduced the lead to just three points. 42-39, following a jumper by Josephson at the 6:35 mark.

Willamette pulled within a single point at 44-43 on a layup by Kalugin with 4:25 left. Swope added a layup for the Lutes and Lamson scored on a layup for the Bearcats, leaving PLU ahead, 46-45. Smith increased the lead to 48-45 on a basket with 2:17 to go.

Kara Sherman of PLU missed a one-and-one free throw with 1:05 left, but Abdo hit the first of two free throws with 41 seconds left. Josephson made one of two free throws for Willamette six seconds later to cut the Bearcats' deficit to 49-46.

The Lutes sank their next five free throws before Sherman missed the second of two shots with 10 seconds left. Sherman's first free throw gave Pacific Lutheran a 54-48 lead. Lamson scored the game's final basket for WU with three seconds remaining.

During the game, Willamette was successful on 20 of 65 field goals (30.8%), while Pacific Lutheran hit 21 of 69 shots from the floor (30.4%). The Bearcats made just 3 of 20 three-pointers (15.0%), with PLU connecting on 3 of 9 trifectas.

WU forced the Lutes into 16 turnovers, while the Bearcats committed 13 turnovers. Willamette blocked four shots, led by Lamson with two rejections. PLU earned two blocked shorts, both by Smith.

The Bearcats will play again on Friday, Jan. 18 at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. Tipoff if set for 6 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

Pacific Lutheran University 54
Willamette University 50

Katie Kalugin hit 5 of 9 field goals on her way to scoring 10 points for the Bearcats.

Katie Kalugin hit 5 of 9 field goals on her way to scoring 10 points for the Bearcats.