In a dominating defensive and offensive effort, the Portland Pilots defeated the San Francisco Dons 69-49, finishing the weekend with a pair of dominating wins.
“These past two games have been a really big stepping stone because we come out strong, we play strong for 40 minutes and we don’t let up,” sophomore guard Haylee Andrews said. “As each game goes by we’re continuing to grow all together.”
The Pilots came out energetic on defense, holding the Dons to 13.3% shooting in the first quarter. Portland and San Francsisco were strong on defense, both teams pressing their opponent’s offense and playing tight man coverage.
“The players are doing a great job with trying to work on effort off the ball and just being relentless with focus and staying engaged into the next play,” head coach Michael Meek said.
Portland held their opponent to a 13.3% shooting percentage in the first quarter and 27.3% on the half, denying their opponent easy looks to the basket. The Pilots effectively dominated the Chiles Center, outscoring the Dons 39-19 in the first 20 minutes.
“Getting up in their space, cutting them off and taking away the glass,” Andersen said of the team’s defensive emphasis.
Sophomore forward Alex Fowler was gritty in the paint, scoring 14 points and nine rebounds, but found herself in foul trouble with three minutes left on the clock, registering three fouls in the first half.
Senior guard Kate Andersen made a statement on the court from start to finish, making the first bucket of the game and contributing on offense and defense. She scored 11 points and had five rebounds in her 31 minutes in the game.
“She has a huge impact, she’s everyone’s best friend on the team, the heart and soul of the team,” Andrews said of her teammate, Andersen. “She’s been here four years, she gives … 110% every day, so it’s going to be hard to watch her leave and graduate.”
Late in the fourth quarter, a Pilot slump gave the Dons leeway to make a Hail Mary push for points. In this minute-long mini-run, San Francisco scored eight points, only stopped by a layup from the Pilots.
Andrews played 36 minutes and impacted the game on all sides, adding 16 points, three rebounds and six assists.
“We really just try to take one game at a time so I’m really proud of the effort the team played with, the togetherness,” Meek said. “But, also know going on the road is a different challenge so we got to regroup and get ready for a whole new weekend.”
The Pilots play Thursday, Feb. 20 at 7 p.m. in Malibu, California as they take on the Pepperdine Waves.
Morgan Wahler is a sports reporter for The Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.