Bearcats Fall Behind by 16 Points at Halftime in 58-42 Loss to PLU

SALEM, ORE. -- Nikki Johnson scored 19 points and pulled down 17 rebounds to lead Pacific Lutheran University to a 58-42 win over Northwest Conference rival Willamette University, on Saturday, Jan. 27 at Cone Field House. PLU upped its record to 11-7 overall and 6-4 in NWC play, while Willamette falls to 4-15 overall, 2-8 in the NWC.
Pacific Lutheran held a 27-11 lead at halftime, then increased its margin to as many as 28 points in the second half. The Lutes led 49-21 with 9:23 remaining, as Johnson scored 13 of her 19 points during the first ten minutes of the second half. Willamette outscored the Lutes 21-9 over the final nine minutes to achieve the final score.

Keilyn Fujioka (Fr., F, Kailua, HI/Iolani HS) led Willamette with 16 points and also pulled down seven rebounds. She was held to just two points in the first half, but exploded for 14 points in the final 20 minutes. She was 6 of 11 from the field, including 6 of 8 in the second half.

Kari Woody (Sr., F, Boise, ID/Timberline HS) led the Bearcats with eight rebounds. Victoria Swigart (Jr., G, Newport Beach, CA/Newport Harbor HS) grabbed six rebounds, while Laura Payne (Jr., G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) contributed four assists and two steals.

For PLU, Johnson’s double-double led the way. Kyle Haag provided 13 points, while Kezia Long scored eight points and grabbed 12 rebounds. Haag shot 3 of 6 from 3-point range and accounted for all three of the Lutes’ 3-pointers on the night. PLU shot 36.5% on field goals (23 of 63), but hit just 3 of 10 from behind the arc. Pacific Lutheran was 9 for 21 (42.9%) on free throws.

The Lutes held Willamette to just 13.8% shooting (4 of 29) in the first half and to 30.5 % shooting (18 of 59) for the game. PLU also achieved a 53-36 rebounding advantage.

After playing five consecutive home games, Willamette will play five of its final six games on the road. The Bearcats are at Pacific University next Friday (Feb. 2) for an NWC contest in Forest Grove, Ore. Tip-off is set for 6 p.m. (PST).