Close to a huge upset, the No. 22 University of Puget Sound women’s basketball team ran out of magic in the final three minutes of the game and fell, 77-73, to undefeated George Fox.
With a UPS (15-3, 6-3) lead ballooning to as many as 10 with seven minutes remaining, George Fox (18-0, 9-0) battled back and came up clutch down the stretch to level the game with 3:30 to go, then take the lead for good at the 2:25 mark.
“I think we played 35 minutes of incredible basketball,” UPS head coach Loree Payne said. “George Fox is great. They have great players. I felt like their great players made big plays at the end of the game. And I felt like we got a little bit hesitant in the last five minutes. We got a little bit back on our heels. We have to learn to play like a veteran team when the game is on the line. This is a great team and they took it from us. We didn’t give it away, they took it.”
But some big players made big plays for UPS also in the near upset, as Amanda Forshay and Kate Ainslie combined for 24 and 18 points, respectively. The pair pulled down nine and 14 rebounds, respectively.
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It was a massive improvement for the Loggers and leading scorer Forshay, as the senior only accounted for four points in UPS’ 77-55 result at George Fox on Jan. 3.
“When we went down there, they came out very strong in the first half and they got a jump on us,” Payne said. “The second half we played them even…pretty much. They extended a run on us in the first half that we couldn’t stop down there.
“It’s a game of runs. The point is to limit their runs and maximize ours. And I think we did that for a good portion of the game tonight.”
With rival Pacific Lutheran and the next five games on the road, UPS will have the difficult task of not only recovering from a heartbreaking loss, but hit the most challenging part of their schedule.
“It’s a long stretch of back-to-back games,” Payne said. “Really it’s making sure we get better as we prepare, but also getting the kids the rest they need so they can go out and perform.”
George Fox 79, at UPS men 76: In the men’s game, the Loggers (9-8, 4-5) went down early and fought back, but came up just short in a loss to the Bruins (5-13, 3-6).
Kohl Meyer came off the bench for Puget Sound to account for 21 points.