Women's basketball wins regular season title in historic season

Ronnie Glover, D3photography.com
Ronnie Glover, D3photography.com

TACOMA, Washington – The Puget Sound women's basketball team finished a record-setting 2016-17 season in the second round of the NCAA Division-III basketball tournament. The Northwest Conference regular-season champion Loggers finished the season 26-3 overall, with a perfect 16-0 NWC record.

The Loggers finished the regular season with a 24-1 overall record, their only loss coming to Trinity on December 17. Along the way to the program's first-ever undefeated record in conference play, Puget Sound went on an 18-game winning streak, including wins over nationally -ranked Whitman and George Fox.

On December 3, the Loggers defeated then No. 8 ranked George Fox, 86-85, at home. The victory was the first win over the Bruins for Puget Sound since January 21, 2011, and snapped the Bruins' 33-game win streak against Northwest Conference opponents. The Loggers were vaulted into the national rankings after this monumental win, checking in at No. 22 in the D3hoops.com poll.

The Loggers also traveled to George Fox and got a victory, on January 27. The visitors earned an 83-76 win, the first for a Puget Sound team in Newberg in 10 years (March 3, 2007).

Puget Sound clinched the Northwest Conference regular-season title on Senior Night, February 11, with a 78-58 win over Whitworth. The title was the program's first outright NWC regular-season title, after sharing the crown three times (2007-08, 2006-07, 2003-04).

After earning the No. 1 seed in the NWC tournament, the Loggers hosted Lewis & Clark in a semifinal, and ended up grinding out a 61-58 victory. In the conference final, familiar foe, and nationally ranked, Whitman, handed Puget Sound its second loss of the year, 81-72.

The Loggers were selected to host the first and second rounds of the NCAA Division-III National Tournament. Puget Sound soundly defeated UC Santa Cruz on March 3 in the First Round, 93-74. In the Second Round, once again facing the Blues, the Loggers were edged, 69-67, to end the program's historic season.

As a team, the 2016-17 Puget Sound Loggers finished with the most wins (26) in school history. Sophomore Samone Jackson also made history, finishing the season with a single-season record of 84 made three-pointers. Senior Alexis Noren surpassed 1,000 points in her Puget Sound career during the NCAA Tournament. She was the third Logger to hit that mark in as many years. She finished her career with 1,014 total points, and also had 332 career assists, which is good for third on the all-time Puget Sound list.

The Loggers began the season unranked, but soon burst into the national spotlight. After Puget Sound knocked off then No. 8 ranked George Fox on December 3, the team jumped into the national rankings. The Loggers peaked at No. 6/7 in the polls after clinching the NWC regular season title.

Puget Sound earned six All-NWC nods during the 2016-17 season. Noren and Jackson were named to the All-NWC First Team, while sophomore Elizabeth Prewitt earned All-NWC Second Team honors. Jamie Lange was named to the All-NWC Second Team, and the post player was also named the NWC Freshman of the Year. Loree Payne earned the NWC Coach of the Year for the second consecutive season.

All four All-NWC players averaged over double digit scoring for the year, led by Jackson with 16.2 points per game. Jamie Lange averaged 13.9 points per game, while also pulling down a team-high 9.5 rebounds per game. The freshman finished the regular season with five consecutive double-doubles, including four games with at least 16 rebounds. Jackson was also named to the D3hoops.com All-West Region Second Team, while Noren earned Third Team honors.



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