Women’s basketball dominates the northwest conference
The nationally ranked Puget Sound women’s basketball team (20-3 overall, 11-3 NWC) extended its winning streak to five games this weekend with two road wins, beating Linfield College 96-77 on Friday night and beating Lewis and Clark College 69-53 on Saturday night.
The Loggers, ranked 22nd nationally (d3hoops.com), opened up the weekend with a historic offensive output, setting a program record with 96 points in its victory over Linfield (10-13 overall, 4-10 NWC).
This effort was led by junior guard Emily Sheldon (Portland, Ore.) who scored 22 points along with eight rebounds and seven assists. Senior forward Amanda Forshay (Moraga, Calif.) also added 21 points and seven rebounds.
“We really focused on pushing the ball in transition,” junior forward Ally Wyszynski (Sammamish, Wash.) said. “We shared the ball really well as a team and our shots were falling.”
Wyszynski, who contributed seven points and six rebounds, was a part of the deep and talented rotation off the bench that allowed the starters to rest without much of a dropoff in the level of play on the court.
While the game was back and forth early in the first half, the Loggers held a 51-40 advantage at the half. Linfield cut the Loggers’ lead to nine early in the second half, but Loggers pulled away soon after, building a lead as large as 19 points before the final buzzer.
The Loggers’ team shooting percentage of 47.9 was the third-highest mark for the team in any game so far this year. The Loggers also dominated the board, outrebounding Linfield 41-31.
The Loggers followed up Friday night’s dominating performance with a 69-53 blowout over Lewis and Clark (8-15 overall, 5-9 NWC). The team was again led by Sheldon and Forshay. Sheldon scored 18 points to go with three rebounds and three assists. Forshay was once again a force in the paint, recording 16 points, eight rebounds and three assists.
Senior Katy Ainslie (Redmond, Wash.) also had her third straight double-digit scoring performance, adding 11 points.
The Loggers led for all but the first two minutes of the game, dominating Lewis and Clark on both sides of the ball. The game was over by halftime, with the Loggers leading 47-26.
The Loggers actually had a better shooting performance versus Lewis and Clark than they did in their historic performance against Linfield, shooting 49.0 percent from the field, which was the highest team mark in any conference game this season and the second highest of the season as a whole.
While the Puget Sound women’s basketball team has been dominating the whole season, they appear to be getting better in the most important stretch of their season.
The Loggers currently sit in third place in conference, a half game behind second place Whitworth (19-3 overall, 11-3 NWC). But with two games left in the regular season, including one versus Whitworth, the team is in control of its own destiny.
The team is currently playing for seeding in the postseason conference tournament, a single elimination playoff between the top four teams in the conference. Winner of the tournament receives an automatic bid to the 2015 Division III Women’s Basketball Championship, the 64-team national tournament.
If the Loggers win out in the regular season, they will be second seed in the conference tournament, allowing them to host at least one game. If they don’t get the second seed the Loggers will be forced to play on the road for the rest of the season.
With Puget Sound currently nationally ranked there is a good chance they can make the NCAA tournament even if they don’t win the conference tournament.
However, the team would be in a safer position by not leaving their fate in the hands of a selection committee, therefore guaranteeing themselves a spot in the NCAA tournament with an opportunity to win a national championship.