Loree Payne is just being plain honest.
Expectations around the University of Puget Sound women’s basketball program are boundless.
“When you look at our complete roster, we probably have the most talent we’ve had in seven years,” Payne said. “We also have the most youth we’ve had in seven years.”
The Loggers improved to 3-0 with an exciting 81-75 over SCIAC contender California Lutheran on the final day of the Doug McArthur Classic at Memorial Fieldhouse in Tacoma.
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Sophomore Elizabeth Prewitt led for UPS players in double figures with 18 points. Samone Jackson, also a sophomore, added 17 points — including three 3-pointers.
“I love that they are hungry,” Payne said.
And soon, they will welcome back two of their expected biggest contributors.
Sumner product Jamie Lange (knee, leg) saw her first on-court action in nearly two years by playing two minutes. She should end up being the team’s best low-post threat.
And then there is Caitlin Malvar (foot), a true freshman who has the potential to become the Loggers’ best player. She should be back next month.
The infusion of mature talent certainly allows senior Alexis Noren to play with more freedom and less expectation to score.
“The pressure has been taken off of myself, just because our underclassmen are so talented,” Noren said.
On Saturday, CLU (1-1) cut an 11-point deficit to 77-75 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining on Janelle Porter’s bucket. But the Loggers held the Regals scoreless the rest of the way.
Nebraska Wesleyan 68, Pacific Lutheran University 61: The Prairie Wolves went on a 14-2 run in the second quarter to break open a close game as the Lutes (0-2) fell on the final day of the tournament in Tacoma.
Samantha Kelleigh tallied a career-high 26 points. She made eight 3-pointers. Kristin Sturdivan added 12.
PLU 71, The Evergreen State College 63: After the Geoducks cut a 10-point deficit to 64-61 with more than a minute to go, Jared Christy had the final answer for the Lutes (2-1).
The forward from Spokane sank a fallaway 3-pointer from the top of the key with 48.6 seconds remaining to put the game away.
Brandon Lester led the Lutes with 19 points. Christy added 18, and Dylan Foreman added 12. Shawn Spencer, a Cascade Christian product, led all scorers with 21 points for Evergreen (0-5).
No. 10 St. Thomas (Minn.) 78, at UPS 74: The defending NCAA Division III national champions overcame an 11-point deficit in the second half to topple the host Loggers (2-1) in Tacoma.
The Tommies (2-1) scored on six of their final seven offensive possessions — including a 9-for-9 free throw clip.
After St. Thomas guard Grant Shaeffer missed a short jumper, the Loggers had a chance to win it, trailing 76-74.
But Carlos Mancasola’s 3-pointer from the left side rimmed off with four seconds remaining.
Jimmy Wohrer and Mancasola led the Loggers with 23 points apiece.