The Pilots returned to Chiles for their first postseason home game in Portland women’s basketball history.
The team was selected into the National Invitational Tournament (NIT). It is the NCAA's second tier tournament that selects 32 teams across the country who performed well during the season but did not make the NCAA Tournament.
The Pilots hosted Colorado State, and came out with a 72-63 win — the first ever WNIT win for the Pilots in school history.
The team jumped to an early lead with Guard Rose Pflug going 3 for 3 from the three point line, extending the lead 9-4 in which she had all of the Pilot’s points.
“Shout out to my teammates, I’m not getting those shots unless they find me,” Pflug said. “Our team came into it ready to find the open player and all I had to do was knock it down.”
Pflug continued to knock shots down, shooting 50% from behind the three point arc, and also contributing on defense with seven rebounds.
The Pilots were subbing in big numbers, yet the energy on the court never waivered. Guard Maisie Burnham came off the bench in the 1st quarter and immediately drove inside the paint and added points to the scoreboard for the Pilots.
The offensive consistency came a lot from finding the hands of Forward Alex Fowler. Fowler continued to put points on the board which kept the team in the lead.
The Rams stayed in the fight knocking a couple of shots down, climbing back to keep the deficit at six points.
Colorado State’s efforts to come back didn’t hinder the Pilots.
“They kept battling back and we’d respond and keep it in that six to 12 range most of the game,” head coach Michael Meek said.
The offensive effort of the Pilots continued. Burnham drove to the basket, and was fouled with 0.5 seconds left in the second quarter. Capitalizing on these free throws, the Pilots went into the half with a lead of 42-32.
The third and fourth quarters were back and forth, however the Pilots only allowed Colorado State to come as close as four points throughout the entirety of the game.
It was a collective team effort with seven of the ten players who played scoring at least one basket.
Ultimately, the Pilots continuous offensive/defensive efforts, and bench energy solidified the win for the Pilots with a final score of 72-63 over Colorado State.
“I am super proud of this group,” Meek said. “You look at the adversity that this team faced in so many key injuries, and to come out with 20 wins is a really cool thing.”
The Pilots look to play in the second round of the WNIT against Oregon State in Corvallis on Sunday at 4 p.m.
“It should be a really fun game,” Pflug said. “Gill is a great atmosphere to play in whether you’re the home or the away team. I know the girls are excited and it’s always fun to play a big five opponent like that. We just take it day by day and go and fight.”
Colby Wilson is a Sports Reporter for the Beacon. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.