Portland looked for their fifth conference win of the year Thursday night hosting the Loyola Marymount Lions. Portland battled early, but the Lions pushed on to a commanding 70-54 win over Portland.
Both teams came off the starting tip-off with an up-tempo pace. LMU jumped out to a quick start with a 8-3 lead built off good looks in the painted area. Portland was beat by clever cuts from the Lions which ended in high percentage looks.
The Pilots found their stride midway through the opening quarter and battled to keep the game close. Portland, however, fell into the trap of shooting a high amount of three pointers, few with considerable contests from LMU defense. Portland shot themselves to a two of eight start from behind the three point line in the first half.
Portland ended the quarter with a missed three pointer which would have tied the game, instead the game stood at 17-14 in the Lion’s favor.
The second quarter brought a similar look. Portland started the quarter with better contests of shots near the bucket, but failed to grab the rebound on the first miss. LMU ended with eight offensive rebounds and 22 points in the paint in the first half.
Portland moved the ball around well, with seven different Pilots scoring in the first half. The Pilots, however, slowed down and scored a total of seven points in the second quarter. Portland seemed to beat Lion defenders at the top of the key but failed to finish at the bucket. Portland went into the locker room trailing 34-21.
The Pilots came out tougher on both sides of the ball and cut the lead down to 11. This was the closest Portland would come, however, as LMU started to take over later in the third.
Portland’s shooting woes were one of the main contributors to the deficit as there were stretches the Pilots struggled to find a bucket. The Pilots got good looks, but failed to convert the chances into points.
“It was about converting stops to scoring,” said freshman guard Haylee Andrews. “We have to come back tomorrow and train, shooters shoot, that's what they are here for.”
Portland got the ball in the hands of shooters, but could not come away with points. Senior guard Darian Slaga, a usually reliable shooter and playmaker, ended the night on 1-7 shooting in 23 minutes of work, finishing with only two points.
Portland continued to turn to the three-point shot throughout the second half, but still the shots would not fall. Portland shot under 20 percent for the game from outside.
“We didn’t shoot well at all,” said Pilot Head Coach Cheryl Sorenson. “They out shot us by 19 shots, that's going to reflect on the scoreboard whether they go in the first time or the second time.”
The Lions continued to push the ball down low, scoring a total 38 points in the paint. LMU did not shoot themselves to a considerably high percentage, but the defense carried the offense. LMU forced Portland into 18 turnovers, which turned into 17 points on the other side for the Lions.
Portland had a scary moment in the third quarter as Junior guard Josie Matz went to the ground with an apparent knee injury. Senior forward Julie Spencer became one of the only bright spots for Portland, scoring a team high 16 points on 6-of-13 shooting.
Portland will look to end their regular season on a high note as they honor the three seniors on the team while playing host to Pepperdine University on Saturday, March 2.
Jamison White is a sports reporter for The Beacon. He can be reached at email@example.com.