TACOMA, Wash. – A late push came up just short for the University of Puget Sound women's basketball team as it fell 78-74 to Northwest University on Monday. The high-scoring affair marked the debut of the Loggers (0-1) head coach Loree Payne.
"Obviously, coming out with a victory would have been a little bit better," said Payne. "We learned a lot. I think we fought hard. We got ourselves down a little bit and were able to fight back."
The Loggers jumped out to a quick lead to start the game. Jocelyn Riordan scored the game's first points and Kelsey McKinnis drained a three-pointer on the next possession to give the Loggers a quick 5-0 lead. However, the Eagles (3-2) went on a 13-2 run over the next few minutes to take a 13-7 lead.
Riordan hit her only 3-pointer of the game to tie the game up at 15-15, but Marielle McKean responded with a bucket on the next possession to take the lead for the Eagles, which they would hold for the remainder of the game.
At the end of the first half, the Eagles led 39-32 led by 10 points from Brittany Marshall. McKinnis looked to have no rust to shake off as she put up 15 points in the opening half on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 shooting beyond the arc.
McKinnis finished 6-of-8 from three-point land and tallied a game-high 26 points. Riordan finished with 19 points for the Loggers on 7-of-20 shooting from the field. Domi Mendoza and Jessalyn Jackson each finished with 14 points for the Eagles.
"We have a lot to pick up on the defensive end," said McKinnis. "We make things happen on offense but it was defensive break downs in the middle of each half that killed us."
With just less than two minutes left in the game, the Loggers found themselves down 10 points. The defense tightened up and the Loggers did not allow a point over the final 1:52. The last of McKinnis's six three cut the lead to seven. The tenacious Loggers fought hard for every rebound and Lindsay Layland scored three or her eight points in the last minute to cut the lead down to four.
Despite their tenacity and ending their game on a 7-0 run, the Loggers ran out of time with the score still 78-74 in favor of the Eagles.
"We're fighters. We're really young," added McKinnis. "I would tell anyone out there that we're not going to give up and that's not how Loggers play. We won't ever quit."
The Loggers hit the road this weekend to face Oglethorpe and Whittier at a Lewis & Clark Tournament in Portland, Ore.