By Jerod Young • Jerod Young • 

Grizzlies let one get away vs. T-Wolves

Marcus Larson/News-RegisterMcMinnville s Emily Bliven tries to get a shot off Friday vs. Tualatin. The Grizzlies lost, dropping their record to 11-9 this season and 5-6 in the conference.
Marcus Larson/News-Register
McMinnville's Emily Bliven tries to get a shot off Friday vs. Tualatin. The Grizzlies lost, dropping their record to 11-9 this season and 5-6 in the conference.

McMillan wasn’t actually missing; she was on the Grizzlies (11-9, 5-6) bench in street clothes serving a one-game suspension for receiving two technical fouls in a Feb. 5 loss to Tigard.

“She’s our leader,” Mac coach Sean Coste said. “And she’s a very good scorer. She can create baskets for herself and her teammates, and not having her tonight definitely hurt.”

With the loss, the Grizzlies have lost two straight. They have three games left, two of which will be played at home. Mac plays at 7:15 p.m. today vs. Glencoe.

More importantly, McMillan will be back in uniform today.

“Grace (McMillan) just knows how to find a way,” Coste said. “If we’re struggling, she gets us a basket. She settles us a little bit, she settles us when we’re struggling.”

The Timberwolves dictated the pace and got out to an early 18-7 lead. McMinnville trailed 22-11 at the end of one.

Coste admitted he wasn’t sure what was causing the sluggish start.

“I don’t know what was going on a little bit there,” Coste said. “Usually we don’t give up these easy layups in transition. We went back to the man-to-man, but we just weren’t finding kids early.”

It appeared part of Mac’s problems in the game was the mismatch in the post. Tualatin’s Nicole Miller and Alyssa Knudsen were much bigger than the Grizzlies post. Miller and Knudsen finished with a combined eight points and 11 rebounds.

McMinnville continued to struggle through the first half and trailed 31-17 at halftime. Even the players knew things weren’t the same without McMillan on the floor.

“It was a big adjustment,” Mac junior Molly Olsen said. “A lot of players had to step up in different areas on defense and on offense, and I think we played well, but it was difficult not having her.”

Olsen and Emily Bliven led the Grizzlies with nine points each. Fellow guard Bethany Mohler finished with eight points. Taylor Petersen led the team with nine rebounds.

The surge in scoring Bliven and Olsen helped narrow the deficit to 41-31 by the end of the third quarter, but it was the 3-point shooting of Tualatin’s Britta Hall that closed the door on the comeback. Hall finished with 19 points — 15 of which came from 3-point range.

“People had to step up in that way,” Olsen said, “but we also had to play tighter and not get into foul trouble as much and that was difficult for us.”

With Hall scoring at will from behind the arc, the Timberwolves rebuilt their lead in the fourth quarter. Tualatin held the Grizzlies to seven points for the quarter while scoring 14.

Coste said the defensive end is where Mac needs work the most in order to finish the season strong.

“Blocking out, that was our number one priority,” Coste said. “(Tualatin) does a great job with offensive rebounds. They’ve always got two kids in, and their offense, two kids are always posting up and launching a lot of shots, so we just gotta get better.”

Notes: Audrey McMillan finished with four points and three rebounds. Elizabeth Logsdon finished with three points and five rebounds. ... Mac shot 10-of-39. ... The Grizzlies play at Newberg on Friday and finish at home next week vs. Forest Grove.

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