by Peter Houston-Hencken
The women’s basketball team suffered a defeat from the Puget Sound Loggers, 71-64, Thursday night. Their loss in the semifinal round ended the Pirate’s run in the Northwest Conference Tournament.
The Loggers took control of the first half by taking an eight-point lead only five minutes into the game. The Pirates picked up their offense when freshman Callie Harwood scored a 3-pointer and helped bring the score within four..
“The excitement of the loud crowd and the vibrant atmosphere got [the Loggers] pumped up and it got us rushing things a bit,” head coach Helen Higgs said.
The Loggers were able to widen their lead by shooting 83.3% from the strike. By 7:38, the Loggers held a nine-point lead at 22-13. Whitworth once again attempted to even the score with the help of senior forward Katara Belton-Sharp who led the Pirates’ offense for the first half.
The Puget Sound lead varied throughout the first half, but was still in UPS favor, 34-29, at halftime.
The UPS lead diminished in the second half when the Pirates began to drain more shots. However, it did not happen right away. The half began with the Loggers scoring six points while the Pirates could only earn two.
At 14:11 the Loggers held their biggest lead at 48-33. Puget Sound held a strong lead until 9:03, when Harwood made a layup that started Whitworth’s comeback.
After numerous timeouts, the Pirates were able to slowly close the gap. In the two and a half minutes between 4:46 and 2:07, Whitworth was able to score 11 points, while the Loggers were only able to score three.
“We talked about extending the pressure, and then we ran a few sets, and we tried to get different looks at shots,” Higgs said.
With the help of junior guard KC McConnell, the Pirates were only behind by one point with a score of 65-64. Belton-Sharp also assisted in the comeback by scoring seven points in the second half.
The last two minutes of the game helped the Loggers acquire their victory. By hitting six free throws, UPS iced the contest with a score of 71-64.
George Fox defeated Whitman 78-64, so the Loggers and the Bruins will compete in the tournament final on Saturday night.