A hot fourth-quarter start seals the Pios’ sixth-straight win and a 2-0 NWC record

A hot fourth-quarter start seals the Pios’ sixth-straight win and a 2-0 NWC record

McMINNVILLE, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers used defensive stops that led to transition baskets at the start of the fourth quarter to win 70-56 over the Linfield Wildcats on Saturday afternoon.

A steal by Janessa Willie and Ayisat Afolabi's block aided a 10-3 Lewis & Clark run to open the period as Lewis & Clark extended an eight-point lead to 15 three minutes into the final period.

"Our defense was really on-point and we were getting a lot of stops and then hitting them in transition and that won the game for us," said sophomore guard Sara Hogman, who finished with 12 points off the bench. It was her second double-digit scoring game this season. In both, she has shot better than 55 percent, including 5 of 8 on Saturday night. Hogman scored six of the Pios' final nine points of the second quarter.

The win by the Pios is their sixth straight and improved Lewis & Clark to 2-0 to start Northwest Conference play.

Afolabi had season-high 23 points on 7 of 10 shooting and a 9 of 13 performance from the free-throw line. Lauren Wood put in 10.

Lewis & Clark (6-1; 2-0 NWC) built a 10-point lead in the first quarter and held Linfield to two field goals through the opening eight minutes, but Linfield (3-5; 0-2 NWC) worked the score to a tie twice in the second quarter. The Pioneers used a late run to lead by five at halftime.

By the end of the third quarter, the Pios were up by eight, but Dani Krier opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer, Linfield's leading scorer's only one of the game. She finished with eight points.

Following the three by Krier, Miyah Leith scored a layup on a drive and then Willie forced a steal from Quincey Gibson and scored on the transition. Afolabi blocked Molly Danielson's shot on the following possession, got the rebound and scored on Deja Nicholas' pass. After Audrey McMillan missed, Alyx Crager scored and Linfield called timeout. The Pioneers ended the 10-0 run on Wood's score after Natalie Kelly rebounded Crager's miss.

"This is a great start for us. We were told that we would be ninth in the conference and we've already improved from that and our season last year," said Hogman. "The new coaching staff and our practice, it is a new mentality. The wins are definitely helping."

With the 2-0 NWC mark, Lewis & Clark plays four more non-conference games before resuming conference play in January.

Other Northwest Conference Scores - Saturday

Willamette 72, Whitworth 48
Pacific 67, Pacific Lutheran 57
Puget Sound 86, George Fox 85