PORTLAND, Ore. -- Miyah Leith matched her career-high 23 points and the Lewis & Clark Pioneers split a tie in the Northwest Conference standings with an 84-75 win over the Linfield Wildcats on Friday night at Pamplin Sports Center.
"We came into this game knowing we needed a win and we were fired up," said Leith, who scored 23 for the fourth time in her career. "That first half showed it, especially that first couple minutes."
The victory moves the Pios (8-6, 3-2 NWC) to sole possession of fourth place in the NWC. The top four teams make the postseason tournament. Leith enters Saturday's game at Pacific Lutheran 34 points shy of becoming at least the 11th Pioneers women's basketball student-athlete to reach 1,000 points in her career.
For the second straight game, the Pioneers started quickly, opening to leads of 6-0 and 16-8. Leith scored seven of Lewis & Clark's first 16 points as the Pioneers came out of a first-quarter timeout on a 7-0 run. A late-quarter field goal drought didn't hamper the Pioneers, who entered the second quarter up 26-16.
Linfield (6-8, 2-3 NWC) rallied in the third quarter to get within 60-50 and eventually within single digits in the fourth. A layup by Whitnie Warren with 24 seconds remaining closed Lewis & Clark's lead to seven, but Linfield came no closer. The Wildcats were led by 18 points from Molly Danielson.
Lewis & Clark won in nearly every category, including a 47-33 percent edge from 3-point range. Crager finished 3 of 5 from deep, while Willie, Natalie Kelly and Rachel Cox all hit triples, too. Lauren Wood was the leading bench scorer with nine to go with 11 rebounds, her seventh double-digit rebounding game of the season.
Serena Saba made her first start at Lewis & Clark after transferring to the Pios this season. She finished with four points and three assists, making her only field-goal attempt.
"She's doing really good," said Leith about Saba. "She's composed when she has the ball. It's allowed me to go back to the wing. Jillian and her have stepped up big time."
The Pios game at Pacific Lutheran starts at 4 p.m. on Saturday.