See what a close loss to the No. 3 team in the country can do for a struggling basketball program?
After losing at home against George Fox, the Pacific Lutheran women said something clicked for the rest of their season.
And they keep showing that. PLU won back-to-back road games in come-from-behind fashion, this time upending Lewis & Clark, 71-66, on Saturday afternoon in Portland, Oregon.
“The players now believe in themselves and their potential,” PLU women’s coach Jennifer Childress said.
It was the Lutes’ third consecutive victory — and their second win of the weekend despite trailing by double digits in the fourth quarter.
Down 61-49, PLU (9-14, 5-9 in NWC) scored on five consecutive 3-pointers, including two by Megan Abdo. The last one by Ionna Price tied it at 64-64 with 3:15 to go.
After a Lewis & Clark turnover, Price — a Bellarmine Prep product — gave the Lutes the lead for good on a layup. They also made 5 of 6 free throws down the stretch.
Sarah Barnes led PLU with 18 points. Price chipped in with 12.
Puget Sound 76, at Pacific 62: Emily Sheldon tallied a game-high 25 points on 8-of-17 shooting, and Alexis Noren added six points, 11 assists and nine rebounds as the Loggers (16-7, 11-3) won in Forest Grove, Oregon.
UPS now holds a two-game lead over Whitman and Whitworth heading into the final weekend of conference play. The Loggers host both next weekend.
PLU 66, at Lewis & Clark 65: Brandon Lester poured in 28 points, and the Lutes led nearly wire-to-wire in Portland to sew up a conference tournament playoff spot.
The last lead the Pioneers held was 54-52 on Alex Jones’ 3-pointer with 8:58 remaining.
PLU (16-7, 9-5 in NWC) scored the next five points, capped by two Lester free throws, and it never trailed again.
Lester, a junior from Sammamish, made nine of 17 field goals, including five 3-pointers. The Lutes have won five games in a row.
At Pacific 65, UPS 63: With the Lewis & Clark loss against PLU, the Loggers also clinched a NWC tournament berth.
Kyle King had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Loggers (12-10, 7-6), who blew a five-point lead in the final 97 seconds.