First-Half Surge Helps Pacific Lutheran Defeat Bearcats, 76-59

Zennan Scores 16 Points and Ties Record for Career 3-Pointers

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

TACOMA, WASH. -- Pacific Lutheran University scored 16 consecutive points in the first half to take a 20-point lead, and the Lutes went on to defeat visiting Willamette University, 76-59, in a Northwest Conference women's basketball game on Friday, Feb. 18. The Lutes improved to 6-17 overall, 4-11 in the NWC, while WU fell to 3-19 overall, 2-13 in the NWC.

PLU held a 23-19 lead with 7:56 remaining in the first half before starting its 16-0 run. Five players scored for PLU during the run, which started with a 3-pointer by Sara Backstrom and later featured a 3-pointer by Jordan Westering.

The Lutes were in front by a 39-19 margin following the run and owned a 44-28 advantage at halftime. PLU outscored WU by just a single point in the second half, 32-31.

Willamette senior guard Alex Zennan (Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) scored 16 points and led all players with six steals against the Lutes. She tied a Willamette record when she hit her 174th career 3-pointer with 13:42 left in the first half. It was her only successful 3-pointer of the game on five attempts.

Zennan entered the game holding the WU record for career 3-point attempts. She extended the record to 521.

Also reaching double digits for the Bearcats was Sophie Wilson (So., G, Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS). Wilson scored 12 points and was 5 of 10 from the field. Kaileigh Westermann (Jr., F, Belfair, WA/south Kitsap HS) tallied nine pints and brought down a team-high seven rebounds.

Samantha Potter tallied 18 points and Backstrom contributed 17 points to lead four Pacific Lutheran players in double figures. Backstrom also contributed 11 assists. Westering provided 16 points for the Lutes, while Mandy Wall finished with 12.

Pacific Lutheran shot 52.8% in the first half (19 of 36), while WU connected on 37.5% of its field goals (9 of 24). PLU fell off to 39.3% (11 of 28) in the second half, but held off the Bearcats by holding Willamette to 29.7% shooting (11 of 37) over the final 20 minutes.

Even so, WU pulled within single digits twice in the second half. The first was at 50-41 following a 3-pointer by Wilson with 13:47 left. The second time was with 7:13 remaining, when a jumper by Wilson cut the margin to 57-49.

PLU responded to the first threat with a 7-0 run for a 57-41 advantage with 9:48 to go. After WU battled back with eight points of its own, ending with Wilson's jumper, the Lutes answered with a 6-0 run. Pacific Lutheran held a 63-49 edge at the 5:12 mark and led by 12 or more points the rest of the way.

The Lutes sank 7 of 18 three-pointers (38.9%) and made 9 of 13 free throws (69.2%). PLU achieved a 45-38 rebounding margin, led by Wall with 10 boards and Potter with eight. Willamette hit just 4 of 15 three-point shots (26.7%) and went 15 for 23 at the line (65.2%).

Willamette will close out the season on Saturday, Feb. 19 with a home game against Lewis & Clark College. The Bearcat seniors will be honored prior to the game. Tipoff against the Pioneers is set for 6 p.m. (PST).

Pacific Lutheran University 76
Willamette University 59
Alex Zennan led Willamette with 16 points.

Alex Zennan led Willamette with 16 points.