Yes, there is a sting losing in any championship game — and the University of Puget Sound women came up just short Saturday winning the Northwest Conference basketball championship.
But the Loggers’ consolation prize should be a nice one — an at-large berth to the NCAA Division III tournament.
They won’t know officially until Monday morning at 11:30, but 18th-ranked UPS gave No. 3 George Fox all it could handle before falling, 66-61, at the Wheeler Sports Center in Newberg, Oregon.
“We will be watching anxiously,” UPS coach Loree Payne said about the selection day.
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The Bruins (27-0) staved off a late UPS rally with two free throws by Sammy Naluai with 23 seconds remaining after the Loggers cut the deficit to 62-59 on Emily Sheldon’s jumper.
Justine Benner led George Fox, which earns the NWC’s automatic berth, with 19 points, including an 11-for-15 effort from the free throw line. Jami Morris added 13.
UPS (23-4), the No. 2 seed in the conference tournament, was led by Amanda Forshay’s 16 points. Sheldon finished with 15. The Loggers were hurt by 20 turnovers.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Nicole Blizzard and Kylie Dummer gave George Fox its largest lead — 33-20.
Now the Loggers must wait a day to see what their postseason fate is. All signs point to them making the national tournament for the first time since 2010.
And they very well could see George Fox a fourth time this season.