PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Lewis & Clark Pioneers fell into an early hole and couldn't recover in Saturday's 71-51 loss to the Willamette Bearcats at Pamplin Sports Center.
Willamette built a 13-point lead in the game's first five minutes and eventually led by 18 at halftime. The Pioneers remain by themselves in fourth place in the Northwest Conference standings after Linfield lost on Saturday. Willamette now has a two-game lead on the Pioneers for third, plus the head-to-head tiebreaker.
Jillian Jin and Whitney Burns made their first career starts, while Jackie Lizarraga was in the starting lineup for the second time this year. Jin finished with seven points. Lizarraga opened the game with a three that gave the Pioneers their only lead before hitting another later in the half on her way to eight first-half points.
Miyah Leith scored 18 points off the bench on 6 of 11 shooting, but the Pioneers saw the Bearcats put in 49 percent of their shots overall. Lewis & Clark was 37 percent from the field.
Kylie Towry led all scorers with 21 points for Willamette. The Bearcats also went 8 for 15 from the 3-point line.
Tori Eichten had four points, five rebounds and two blocks. Lewis & Clark held an 8-6 advantage in offensive rebounds.
The Pioneers host first-place Whitman and Whitworth next weekend. Lewis & Clark's game with Whitman is on Friday at 6 p.m.