Pios take down Wildcats, stay on track for NWC tournament spot

Pios take down Wildcats, stay on track for NWC tournament spot

PORTLAND, Ore. -– The Lewis & Clark Pioneers hosted the Linfield Wildcats on Friday night in a Northwest Conference matchup at Pamplin Sports Center. The Pios finished off an early lead, winning 72-61. 

Just three points shy of 1,000 points for her career, senior Ayisat Afolabi had another explosive game, scoring 26 points to follow-up a career-high 27 points last Saturday against Whitman. Her fifth game with over 10 rebounds, Afolabi extends her national ranking in double-doubles, rounding the season total to 11.

"She's so much fun to play with because she has so much fight and fire in her," said teammate Rachel Cox of Afolabi. "We're so excited for her to get that 1,000 and want that to happen tomorrow."

The Pios play at Pacific Lutheran on Saturday at 4 p.m.

Afolabi led both teams with 19 points and seven rebounds at the half. Miyah Leith hit nine points, allowing the Pioneers a 15-point lead going into the third period. 

A string of fouls on the Pioneers in the fourth quarter let the Wildcats within 10. 

Leith had a solid run of layups with five minutes left, allowing the Pioneers to extend their lead. She ended the night shooting a season-best 9 of 10 on field goals, tying her season-high of 19 points.

Sarah Anderson, who is nationally ranked in 3-point percentage coming into the night, kept a 50 percent average for the game, just over her season average of 47 percent. Fellow senior Deja Nicholas ended the night with a game-high four assists and four steals.

"We knew this game was a must-win, so we just wanted to come out and do our job and take care of business," said Cox, who ended the night 3 of 7 for six points. "We had to win both of the games this weekend to stay in the top four, so that was just really important to us to come out and do what we had to do." 

Linfield adds a loss to their record, now 9-9 overall and 3-6 in NWC play. The Pioneers made it their goal to come out strong after their 79-70 upset win against No. 18 Whitman last weekend.

"We just want to focus on taking every team seriously because every team is capable of winning, "said Cox. "We want to make sure to never let another team come into our house and win."

Lewis & Clark (13-5; 6-3 NWC) has now won seven out of 10 of their home games this season.

Other Northwest Conference Scores - Friday

Whitworth 68, Willamette 62
Puget Sound 83, George Fox 76
Pacific 58, Pacific Lutheran 54