By NR Staff • 

Rough sailing at Puget Sound

TACOMA, Wash. – Struggling to make baskets all night, the Linfield Wildcats faded in the second half on the way to a 59-50 Northwest Conference defeat to the Puget Sound Loggers Saturday night in Memorial Fieldhouse.

Linfield attempted five more shots than UPS yet converted five fewer hoops. A 5-for-28 output from 3-point range by the ‘Cats sealed their fate in a battle of rebuilding NWC programs.

Wildcats guard Vinnie Toor scored a team-high 16 points off the bench while center Chris Dirks added 12 points, five rebounds, two assists and one blocked shot.

In 24 minutes, Toor went 4-for-10 from the field, including three of the Wildcats' five 3-pointers.

Through a nip-and-tuck first half, UPS clung to a 23-22 advantage at the break. Linfield shot a cool 30 percent from the field and was outrebounded by a 24-17 margin through the game's first 20 minutes.

The Wildcats kept the game close with tight ball possession and sound contributions from the bench. The Linfield reserves outscored their UPS counterparts 11-5 in the first half and the ‘Cats accounted for just three turnovers in the half on the way to a season-low five miscues for the game. UPS coughed up the ball eight times in the first half alone.

Fueled by five points each from Dan Cheledinas and Nick Holden, the Loggers launched an 11-3 run to extend their lead to double digits, 39-28, eight minutes into the second period. Cheledinas finished with a game-high 17 points on 5-of-8 shooting.

A pair of layups by Dirks and a 3-point play from Kevin Hurley helped Linfield draw to 41-37 with 6:29 to play. Toor's 3-point bucket with 2:34 showing on the clock made it a three-point contest. The Loggers, however, outscored the ‘Cats 11-5 the rest of the way, with six of those points coming by way of the free throw line.

The Wildcats forced 12 turnovers in the contest, leading to 13 points. UPS controlled the backboards, sweeping up 43 missed shots to the Wildcats' 31. Six Loggers managed at least five rebounds in the game.

Linfield visits Willamette Friday night in another NWC doubleheader. Tipoff inside the WU's Cone Fieldhouse is 8 p.m. with live Internet coverage starting at 6 p.m.


Women’s basketball

Puget Sound 70, Linfield 59

TACOMA, Wash. – Despite getting steady guard play from Quincey Gibson and Taylor Solomon to balance out a double-double from Kaely Maltman, Linfield found itself on the losing end of a 70-59 women's basketball bout with Puget Sound as Northwest Conference action resumed Saturday night inside Memorial Fieldhouse.

Maltman finished with game highs of 17 points and 18 rebounds, while Gibson and Solomon hit three 3-pointers apiece as the Wildcats dropped to 0-2 in league play, 4-7 overall.

Led by Alexis Noren's 11 points, the Loggers (8-3, 1-1 NWC) had a trio of double-digit scorers, getting an additional 10 points each from Allie Wyszynski and Katy Ainslie.

An early 10-10 tie ballgame quickly dissipated as the Loggers strung together a 5-0 run on a successive 3-pointer and layup from Olivia Roberts and Hannah Lekson, respectively.

Maltman and Ainslie traded buckets before the teams embarked on a nearly a three-minute scoreless stretch for both clubs. Neither team shot particularly well from beyond the arc, even failing to draw iron on a couple of tries, before Taylor Jones knocked in a 3-pointer with 7:25 to go, pushing the scoring gap to nine points and forcing another Wildcat timeout.

A step-through move from Maltman earned the Wildcats their first trip to the free throw line with 6:26 to go. Though the junior made good on only one shot, it gave Linfield life after a near four-minute scoring drought, and a turnaround jumper from Jessica McMillan on the next trip down the floor brought the ‘Cats to within eight, 23-15.

The teams played mostly even the rest of the second half, with the Loggers holding a comfortable 10-point lead, 31-21, headed into the locker room.

Puget Sound used a monster 15-4 run over the opening five minutes of second-half action to gain a game-changing 21-point advantage, 46-25. Quincey Gibson sank a 3-pointer on one end of the floor and stole the ball on the other, setting up a Taylor Solomon transition layup with 14:35 remaining. After Wyszynski's jumper pushed the UPS lead back to 18 points, the teams struggled through another scoreless stretch for nearly four minutes.

Gibson drained another long-range bucket to spark the offense again, but Linfield failed to get closer than 15 points until the final two minutes of the game. Down 14 points, the ‘Cats got back-to-back 3-pointers from Solomon and Gibson and a layup from McMillan to get the deficit below 10 points for the first time of the half.

Two free throws from Noren sealed the deal for the Loggers, however, and dealt Linfield its second conference loss of the year.

Linfield returns to Oregon for its first back-to-back action of Northwest Conference play, traveling to Salem for a Friday tilt against Willamette before returning to the friendly confines of Ted Wilson Gymnasium Saturday for a bout with Lewis & Clark. Both games are set for a 6 p.m. start.

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