PARKLAND, Wash. – Visiting Whitworth used an entire team effort to overcome the huge performance by Pacific Lutheran's Samantha Potter in an 80-67 Northwest Conference women's basketball victory on Friday night at Olson Auditorium.
Five Pirates reached double figures and Whitworth hit 12 three-pointers as a team to improve to 5-7 overall and 1-2 in the NWC. The host Lutes fell to 4-8, 1-2 despite a school record-tying 36 points by Potter.
The teams traded leads throughout a closely-played first half. Whitworth took three three-point leads, including 25-22 on a free throw by Johnson with eight minutes left. But the Lutes answered with a 7-0 run to open their largest lead of the half (29-25) on a lay up by Potter. Potter scored her final basket of the half with :54 to play in the half lifting PLU to a 39-36 halftime lead. Potter made all ten of her shots in the first period and had 20 of her points at halftime.
Lexi Belcher opened the second half with a three-pointer to pull the Pirates into a tie. The Lutes took their final four-point lead minutes later after back to back baskets by Potter, who made her first 12 shots from the field. A three-pointer by Lauren Picha tied the game at 45-45 with 16 minutes to play.
Whitworth and PLU traded leads six times over the next six minutes. The Pirates took the lead for good with a quick 6-0 run that turned the Lutes' 54-53 advantage to a 59-54 Whitworth lead. The Bucs grabbed a 68-60 lead with just over five minutes to play on a long three by Guthrie. Potter answered with a basket for PLU but Belcher hit another three to give Whitworth a 71-62 lead with three and a half minutes to play. The Pirates were not threatened the rest of the way.
Whitworth hit 41.5% (27-65) from the field, 46.2% (12-26) from three-point range. The Bucs were 14-20 (70%) from the free throw line.
Guthrie hit five three-pointers to account for most of her 19 points and she led the Bucs with six assists. Johnson was 5-9 from the field and 8-12 from the free throw line. Belcher finished with 16 points. Jamie Lyons had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Picha finished with ten points.
Potter made 17 of 21 shots from the field to finish with game-highs of 36 points and 11 rebounds. Shelly Kilcup scored ten points as the only other Lute in double figures. PLU hit 45.6% (26-57) of its shots. The Lutes were 3-12 (25%) from three-point range.
Whitworth will try to make it a sweep on its Western Washington trip with a game at Puget Sound on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.