Prior to the start of the crosstown rivalry between Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran, Lady Loggers coach Loree Payne wondered which team would show up in their home opener – the team that was swept by Whitman and Whitworth on the road, or the one with high aspirations for this season.
Turns out it was the latter, as Amanda Forshay paced the Lady Loggers with 17 points, Kelsey McKinnis added 11 points and Katy Ainslie chipped in with 10 points as Puget Sound pulled away for a 74-46 win on Jan. 2 – their first conference win of the young season.
“Our defense gave us a big lift today,” said Payne, who saw her team open up a close game in the first half and cruise to the easy win.
Trailing by three midway through the first half, the Lady Loggers went on a 17-7 run to take a 34-27 lead, which they would not relinquish.
“We stayed focused after we got the lead back and maintained the momentum in the second half,” said Forshay. “Our energy level was the key in the second half.”
The pregame focus for Puget Sound on the defensive end was shutting down Pacific Lutheran’s leading scorer, forward Samantha Potter. She was held to just 13 points – far below her season average of 19 points per game – going just 4-for-12 from the field.
“Our guards did a great job of taking Potter out of her comfort zone by collapsing really well in the paint,” said Payne of her team’s great defensive effort. “It made it a lot easier on the offensive end, as the defense led to several good transition hoops on the other end.”
“We stayed focused after we got the lead back and maintained the momentum in the second half. Our energy level was the key in the second half.” Amanda Forshay -UPS Guard
Not taking their feet off the gas pedal, the Lady Loggers extended their lead to 28, at 63-35, with just over eight minutes left in the game.
At game’s end, Payne reflected on the earlier trips to Walla Walla and Spokane – losses that will be learning experiences for her squad. “It was not that we played badly. We played well in spurts, but Whitman and Whitworth really played well and they both took it to us on the defensive end. It was a lesson we learned really well and applied it on our home court tonight.”
While Forshay stole the show on the offensive end against the Lutes, Payne also singled out McKinnis, who added eight rebounds along with her 11 points. “Kelsey has really established herself. She has become a force in the low post.”
A force she hopes who will continue to progress and lead the Lady Loggers to bigger and better things. The Lady Loggers added a 75-45 win at home over Willamette on Jan. 4, and sit at 9-4 overall, with a 2-2 mark in the Northwest Conference. They were set to travel to face Linfield on Jan. 11 for a game at 6 p.m. The Lutes topped Linfield 56-52 on Jan. 5 for their first league victory, and were set to host Pacific (Ore.) on Jan. 11 at 6 p.m.