By Giancarlo Santoro, Sports Writer
The Northwest Conference matchup between the Pacific Lutheran University women’s basketball team and their cross-town rivals Feb. 11 was a colorful affair even before the game started. The Lute women wore specially colored socks and warm up shirts to support breast cancer as they squared off against the Loggers from the University of Puget Sound.
Although it may have looked like Valentine’s Day had come early, athletes, fans and coaches were asked to wear pink and donate money or participate in a raffle in order to promote Breast Cancer Awareness Night. The proceeds went to support cancer research centers.
“The college basketball platform reaches out to a lot of people,” head coach Jennifer Childress said. “These young women are playing basketball as a privilege, and they need to understand that and not take it for granted, because there are a lot of people fighting a harder fight than we are.”
A rather large crowd was on hand to watch another classic Tacoma rivalry match. Although the Lutes were at home, it was UPS who prevailed, coming out on top with a 57-70 win. Sophomore Sarah Barnes led the Lutes with 15 points, while seniors Samantha Potter and Katelyn Smith also reached double digits with 14 and 12 points respectively.
With the win, UPS improved its record to 14-8 overall and 7-6 in NWC, while PLU fell to 7-15 overall and 3-10 in conference.
“We played them hard and I am proud of our girls for fighting and not giving up,” Smith, one of five seniors on the team, said. “I think just focusing on us and just playing our hearts out is key, and it’s [the rest of the season] going to come down to hard work.”
Following the game, which is the last home game for PLU, coaches and players honored five seniors for their career as Lutes. The women will close out the winter season with a trip to Oregon, where they will face Linfield and Willamette.
“I was happy for about the first 33 minutes of the game,” Childress said. “We came out from halftime really flat and didn’t block out or do some things we did really well in the first half and [UPS] is a good team.” ◼︎