Pios move up by double digits early and maintain lead to win fourth-in-a-row

Pios move up by double digits early and maintain lead to win fourth-in-a-row

PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers went up by 10 points with just over three minutes left in the first half and never allowed the gap to lessen further in an 88-71 win over the Redlands Bulldogs on Saturday afternoon at Pamplin Sports Center.

The win is the fourth straight for Lewis & Clark, which is the team's first streak of that length since the Pios won six-in-a-row in Feb. 2013. The Pioneers won the outright Northwest Conference championship that season. The victory also pushed Lewis & Clark past their win total from all of last season.

"The biggest thing is they're having fun," said first-year head coach Pamela Findlay. "We design practice to get work done and have fun. They are so talented and it is fun to see those pieces come together. They're finally starting to click in transition."

For the second straight game, the Pios dominated their opponent in fastbreak points, outscoring Redlands, 17-4, on Saturday night. In scoring 108 points on Friday against Walla Walla, Lewis & Clark held a 40-6 edge in that category.

"Practice, practice, practice," said sophomore guard Janessa Willie when asked how the team executed their transition game so well this weekend. "Our guards have to run the floor, and even if we don't get a layup in transition, we draw the defense and someone else is open. It's what we practice."

Willie was one of four players in double figures after scoring 10 points on 3 of 6 shooting. Lauren Wood led all scorers with 20 points, her season high, while Miyah Leith added 19 more. Sarah Anderson went 3 of 5 from 3-point range and finished with 11. Following Saturday's game, Lewis & Clark is in the top four of the Northwest Conference in scoring average while holding opponents to the second-lowest total in the league.

Unlike Friday, when the Pios won by 74, Redlands hung around, closing to within 11 with two minutes left to play. Reyna Ta'amu was the Bulldogs' leading scorer with 18 points.

"[Defense] was definitely important. It's been big for us all season," said Findlay. "We've held teams to low points, so even if our offense isn't clicking, we are able to pull out some wins. [Redlands] made some adjustments and got it to their posts more."

After the Bulldogs closed in, the Pios scored seven points in the final 1:20 to secure the win.

"It feels so good," said Willie. "We're all coming together and everyone is getting their shine. We know each other's weaknesses and strengths and we're finally applying ourselves."

Lewis & Clark outshot Redlands, 51-35 percent. Lewis & Clark has shot over 40 percent from the floor in their last three games.

The Pios open conference play with Pacific Lutheran on Friday.