It is NCAA tournament time, and all the ninth-ranked Puget Sound Loggers had to do to advance was ride the ‘L’ train.
As in Lange and Limper.
Fueling the team’s biggest scoring output for a single quarter all season, Jamie Lange and Mikaela Limper led the Loggers past UC Santa Cruz, 93-74, in the opening round of the NCAA Division III tournament Friday night at Memorial Fieldhouse in Tacoma.
Lange scored a career-high 30 points on 13-of-19 shooting. Limper added a season-high 14 points in 22 minutes off the bench.
UPS (26-2) moves on to face Northwest Conference rival Whitman, a 76-72 winner over George Fox, for a fourth time this season Saturday night. The winner will reach the round of 16 in the national tournament.
“We had to work through some of those jitters,” Loggers coach Loree Payne said. “But for the most part, we were able to regroup and bounce back and start to get into our flow.”
UC Santa Cruz (14-11) led early — and extended to an 18-16 lead on Tyler Stewart’s 3-pointer just 58 seconds into the second quarter.
That is when Lange came alive. Her three-point play at the 8:16 mark gave UPS the lead for good, 19-18.
After a Elizabeth Prewitt steal, Lange took it the rest of the way for an easy layup and the Loggers led, 25-20, with 7:02 to go in the first half.
Then it was Limper’s turn.
She buried a 3-pointer midway through the second quarter to give the Loggers their first double-digit advantage — 34-23. And the Hawaii product hit another one with less than a minute to go.
UPS scored 30 point in the second quarter to take a 44-32 halftime lead.
No. 16 Whitman 76, No 23 George Fox 72: The NWC tournament champions won their third meeting with the Bruins and will play UPS in a rematch of the conference title game a week ago in Tacoma.
Once trailing by 16 points in the first half, the Bruins tied the game on Kim Frost’s third 3-pointer of the fourth quarter, 71-71, with 47 seconds remaining.
But the Blues (24-4) had an answer on Chelsi Brewer’s game-winning 3-pointer 18 seconds later to advance.
Brewer led all scorers with 20 points.