PARKLAND, Wash. - The #8 Lewis & Clark women's basketball team guaranteed itself a winning season with a 57-51 Northwest Conference victory on road Friday night against Pacific Lutheran.
The Pioneers improve to 13-1 on the season and 4-1 in conference play. The Lutes fall to 4-11 overall and 1-4 in the NWC.
Samantha Potter led the Lutes with a game-high 19 points and eight rebounds. Andi Adams contributed 15 points to Pacific Lutherans efforts.
It was slow going to start the contest with the two sides sitting tied 3-3 four minutes into the half. A Williams three pointer put the Pioneers ahead of the Lutes 13-8 two minutes later, but PLU went on a 5-0 run to tie the game once again with 11:06 until halftime. Lewis & Clark settled down following the tie, going on a 10-0 run of its own led by Villanueva to capture a 23-13 advantage.
The Pios would take a comfortable 34-22 lead into the locker room after a jumper by Daron Dean with 23 seconds left. Despite four first half lead changes and thee score ties, the Pioneers outworked the Lutes in the paint, scoring 18 of their 34 points inside.
Williams got the second half started with a put back with 19:36 to go. The Pioneers would stay strong off the boards, but despite their efforts the Pios would not be able to convert those rebounds into points, allowing the Lutes to fight their way back into the contest. Katelyn Smith pulled PLU within six points, 38-32, with 13:18 to go with a layup.
Neither side would put the ball in the hoop for nearly three minutes following the Smith score. Back-to-back free-throws by Williams finally broke the scoring drought with 10:48 to go. Neva Hauser extended the Pioneers lead back to 12 points with 7:26 after a defensive rebound by Kathlene Howe sent the Pioneers back down the court.
Williams gave the Pioneers their largest lead of the game with an unconventional three point play with 3:53 remaining. Williams' layup put the Pios ahead 52-37, followed by a good free-throw to extend the teams lead to 16 points.
Pacific Lutheran continued to battle to the end, eventually pulling within four points with 12 seconds to play on an Adams jumper. Villanueva free-throws ended the scoring to put the Pioneers back ahead by six points for the 57-51 win.
Lewis & Clark returns to action on Saturday, Jan. 14 at 6 p.m. against Willamette in the Pamplin Sports Center.