TACOMA, Wash. - Sophomore Kristina Williams scored a game-high 24 points, while teammate Sara Villanueva picked up 20, to lead the Lewis & Clark women's basketball team past the Puget Sound Loggers, 73-62, on Saturday night in Northwest Conference action.
The win puts the Pioneers (13-4) in sole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference with a 7-1 league record. Lewis & Clark are currently riding a nine game winning streak, six of which have come in conference action. The Loggers slip to 13-4 on the season and 6-2 in NWC play, tying them for second place with the George Fox Bruins.
Williams finished the night with her second double-double of the season, scoring 24 points and grabbing 10 rebounds. Williams has led the Pioneers in scoring in 11 games this season, scoring in double figures in all but one game this season. Villanueva posted a season high 20 points for the Pios, finishing 7-11 from the floor and 6-6 from the free-throw line.
Kelsey McKinnis scored 19 points for the Loggers, while Jocelyn Riordan chipped in 14 points. Sara Stewart led Puget Sound in rebounds with nine, while also contributing nine points.
With conference bragging rights on the line, the first-half began as a tug of war with game seeing eight ties and lead changes. Junior Margaret Dowling got the scoring started with a minute gone, hitting a jumper in the paint to put the Pios on top. It would take the Loggers just 20 seconds tie the game, beginning the power struggle. Puget Sound earned a four point, 12-9, lead on made free-throws with 13:29 to play, the largest advantage by either team up to that point. Williams tied the game at 13-13 a minute later on an unassisted jumper, tying the contest for the fifth time.
The Loggers went on an 8-0 run to go up 28-23 with 5:20 remaining in the half, making it look as though they had taken control of the contest. Lewis & Clark had other plans, swinging the momentum its way, with a solid 12-0 run that spanned the next three minutes. A three-pointer by Williams capped off the Pios run, earning them a 35-28 lead with 2:16 remaining. McKinnis hit a jumper to end the period, cutting the Pioneers lead to 35-30 at the half.
The Pioneers run at the end of the first half seemed to demoralize the Loggers, who were unable to capture the lead in the second half. Puget Sound pulled within one point of the Pios with 18:00 on the clock, but would see the Pioneers quickly regain a seven point, 43-36, advantage. Junior Neva Hauser gave the Pioneers a 12 point lead with 8:22 to play, hitting a jumper that put the team up 58-46. The Pioneers earned their largest lead of the contest on a Dowling basket with 2:44 remaining, earning the team a 68-55 advantage. Puget Sound managed to pull back within single figures with a couple seconds remaining, falling 72-63.
The Pioneers return to action for the second half of NWC action on Jan. 28 at 6 p.m. when they travel to Walla Walla, Wash., to take on the Whitman Missionaries.