TACOMA, Wash. – Defense took center stage in the University of Puget Sound women's basketball team's 58-44 win over Trinity on Sunday. The Loggers (3-1) held the Tigers (1-3) to 30.2 percents shooting while outrebounding the visitors 56-34.
"You can never predict if the ball is going to go in the hole," commented head coach Loree Payne. "You can predict what you do on defense. That was our focus this week."
For the first time this season, the Loggers scored below 70 points and needed the extra defensive effort to pull out Payne's first victory at home as the Loggers shot just over 30 percent as well. The Loggers also limited the Tigers to just six offensive rebounds, including none in the first half, while grabbing 24 boards on their half.
Lindsay Layland epitomized the grit of the Loggers defensive mindset as she led the team with 18 rebounds, including 10 on the offensive end. She also had a season-high 19 points to lead the Loggers.
"We knew that we needed to crash the boards tonight to make anything happen," said Layland. "Coach put the pressure on us to get some rebounds and we know that offensive rebounds gives us second looks and starts the shot clock over."
Many of Layland's team-leading 19 points came on those second looks.
"Lindsay is the glue that holds this team together," added Payne. "She is the backbone of our passion and intensity. She brings it day in and day out."
The Loggers scored the game's first seven points to build an early lead, but the Tigers came roaring back with a 11-3 run that gave them a 12-11 lead. However, the Loggers responded by finishing the first half on a 21-9 run to lead 31-20 at the break.
Both teams continued to struggle offensively in the second half, but the Tigers found a bit of a groove as they closed the gap to five points with 8:06 remaining and again with 5:56 remaining. Each time the Loggers pulled away to widen the gap. With a 44-39 lead and less than six minutes left, Kelsey McKinnis sunk back-to-back three-pointers to suddenly give the Loggers a 50-39 lead. McKinnis finished with 14 points and eight boards.
Layland followed up McKinnis on the next possession with a three-point play to increase the lead to 14. From there the Loggers never looked back as they finished the game on a 14-5 run.
Although the Loggers shot just 30.2 percent from the field and 21.7 percent beyond the arc, the defense continued to limit the Tigers opportunities with high-pressure defense. The Loggers also forced 19 Tiger turnovers.
Jana Tucker scored a team-high 16 points for the Tigers and was the lone Tiger to reach double digits.
The Loggers open up NWC play next weekend when they host Willamette at 6 p.m. on Friday.