Bearcats Hit 11 Three-Pointers, but Lutes Rally for 71-66 Win

Potter Scores 34 for PLU; DeLong Earns 19 Points, Kalugin Adds 15, for Willamette

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

PARKLAND, WASH. -- Willamette University connected on 11 three-pointers and point guard Jojo DeLong (Jr., G, Santa Clarita, CA/Canyon HS) scored 19 points, but it wasn't enough to prevent Pacific Lutheran University from rallying for a 71-66 win on Saturday, Jan. 25. Senior post Samantha Potter scored 17 points in each half to lead PLU with 34 points.

Pacific Lutheran improved to 7-10 overall, 3-5 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 3-14 overall, 1-7 in the NWC. It was the sixth time this season that the Bearcats have lost by fewer than six points.

The Lutes rallied from a 42-32 halftime deficit and a 49-35 margin with 16:57 left. Potter grabbed eight rebounds in addition to leading all players in scoring. Sarah Barnes added 14 points, six boards and six assists for PLU.

Willamette placed four players in double figures. DeLong's 19 points led the way, as she connected on 5 of 11 three-point shots. DeLong also grabbed seven rebounds, earned four assists and had three steals. Katie Kalugin chipped in 15 points and led all players with nine rebounds.

Alex Wert contributed 11 points and Alexa Beeson added 10.

The Bearcats achieved a 14-8 lead in the first six minutes behind six points from Beeson and five points from Kalugin. PLU tallied the next three points before WU went on a 9-2 scoring burst to claim a 23-13 advantage with 10:30 on the clock.

Pacific Lutheran scored the three consecutive baskets -- the final two by Potter -- to pull within four points. A bit later, Willamette led 28-21 following a 3-pointer by Wert at the 6:37 mark.

Over the next 2:44, PLU slowly built a 6-0 run to get within 28-27. Potter completed the run with a layup with 3:53 remaining in the half.

WU took control until halftime by putting together a 14-5 run that expanded the lead to 42-32 at the break.

The offense surge began with a layup by DeLong and a jump shot by Kalugin. It also included one 3-pointer each by Savanna Steele (Fr., PG, West Richland, WA/Hanford HS) and DeLong, as well as two free throws each by Julia Brand (Jr., F, Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School) and Wert.

Beeson scored first for WU to open the second half, but a 3-pointer by Abdo of PLU cut the lead to 44-35. Willamette answered with a layup by Kalugin and a 3-pointer from DeLong to give the Bearcats their largest lead of the night at 49-35.

Potter and Barnes scored every point in an 11-0 run as the Lutes cut the margin to three points with 13:22 left.

DeLong scored next for Willamette on a 3-pointer for a 52-46 lead, but two free throws by Potter and a jumper by Barnes pulled PLU within two points. The Bearcats replied with seven unanswered points, ending with a 3-pointer by DeLong, to extend the margin to 59-50 with 7:34 to go.

The Bearcats led by at least three points over the next several minutes and owned a 64-56 advantage with 3:30 to play, before Potter and Andrea Potter combined to score 15 of the game's final 17 points.

Potter hit 3 of 4 free throws to start the run and then Adams tacked on a 3-pointer to get PLU within 64-62 at the 2:40 mark. Potter tied the score with two more free throws 27 seconds later. DeLong converted two free throws for WU with 2:03 left to provide the Bearcats to a 66-64 lead.

Each team committed a turnover on its next possession, and then Adams drilled a 3-pointer to move the Lutes in front, 67-66, with 1:16 remaining. Kalugin missed on a layup with 58 seconds left.

Potter went 4 for 4 at the free throw line on attempts with 32 seconds and eight seconds left to clinch the win. In between, Kalugin had a chance to tie the game with 12 seconds to go, but her 3-point shot bounced off the rim.

Willamette shot 42.3% (22 of 52), including 11 of 30 from 3-point range (36.7%). Pacific Lutheran was 26 of 53 from the field (49.1%) and made 4 of 7 three-pointers (57.1%). The Lutes achieved a 38-26 rebounding margin.

The Bearcats will return to the court on Friday, Jan. 31 at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. The action will get underway at 6 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

George Fox University 71
Willamette University 42

Post-game Interview

Photo Gallery (Photos by Naomi Stukey, photographer for Willamette Athletics)

Jojo DeLong achieved 19 points and hit five three-pointers, while earning seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.

Jojo DeLong achieved 19 points and hit five three-pointers, while earning seven rebounds, four assists and three steals.