Second half comeback not enough for the Pioneers against George Fox

Second half comeback not enough for the Pioneers against George Fox

PORTLAND, Ore. -- A 3-pointer at the buzzer from Janessa Willie came up just short to keep the Lewis & Clark Pioneers from successfully completing a second-half comeback in a 69-68 overtime loss to the George Fox Bruins on Tuesday night at Pamplin Sports Center. The Pios also had a chance at the end of regulation, but Lauren Wood missed from the right side. 

Lewis & Clark had trailed by 20 points in the third quarter, but tied the game in the final 1:30 on steals and scores by Deja Nicholas and Sara Hogman.

The loss moves the Pios one game behind George Fox for third place in the Northwest Conference, and gives the Bruins the season series between the two teams.

"Our second half was some of the best basketball we have played all season," said head coach Pamela Findlay, "I'm so proud of the team for executing the halftime adjustments that we talked about. We played so hard and never gave up. We showed that we can play with the best."

The Bruins played a tight trap, forcing seven turnovers in the first quarter alone. Sarah Anderson sank two big shots to keep the Pios in contention, ending the first quarter down by seven. 

George Fox (16-4; 8-3 NWC) sank a three with two minutes left in the first half to pull ahead by 13, its largest margin of the game. Lewis & Clark only shot 22 percent from beyond the arc for the half, with Anderson and Willie both sinking one apiece. 

After a slow start, Ayisat Afolabi scored 18 points in the second half for the Pioneers. She finished with her 12th double-double of the season, scoring 19 points and pulling down 14 rebounds, which gives Afolabi 707 boards for her career. Entering the game, Afolabi had averaged 22 points in her last four games, eclipsing 1,000 career points on Saturday at Pacific Lutheran. She received a commemorative basketball before the game from her coaches and teammates.

With five minutes left in the matchup, Lewis & Clark (14-6; 7-4) pulled within six points for the first time since the first quarter.

Nicholas stole the ball with 35 seconds left in the game, scoring a fastbreak layup to bring the score within two. On George Fox's next possession, Hogman got her hands on the ball, grabbing another steal for Lewis & Clark and scoring the second layup in a row to tie up the game. Wood missed with 1.8 seconds left and the game went to overtime. 

Afolabi scored the first two points of the overtime, and the Bruins responded with two of their own. Back-and-forth points ensued before George Fox's Kaycee Creech was fouled by Miyah Leith with three seconds left. Creech made the first, missed the second and Lewis & Clark took a timeout. Willie had an open look from the right wing, but it was just short.
"With less than 3 seconds on the clock, you have to get a shot off quickly," said Findlay. "Janessa is a tremendous 3-point shooter, and more importantly, has very quick footwork and a fast release into her shot. The shot was one-inch from nothing but net. Our team embraced the pressure at the end of the game and got a great look."

Willie ended the night with 11 points, while Leith and Anderson both had eight. Wood brought down nine rebounds, putting her one shy of 300 in just under three years with the Pios. Nicholas led both teams with seven assists. 

Lewis & Clark is home again on Friday to take on Puget Sound at 6 p.m. at Pamplin Sports Center, and Lewis & Clark College Faculty and Staff will be honored during the game.