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Boxers rout Lutes behind Cook's near triple-double

Olivia Cook sparks Pacific to a 36-point win in NWC action

 - Pacific senior Olivia Cook goes up for a shot on Saturday during the Boxers' 88-52 win over Pacific Lutheran in Northwest Conference play.What a performance.

More accurately, what a performance within a performance Saturday during the Pacific women’s basketball team’s game against Pacific Lutheran.

The Boxers got a superlative near triple-double effort from Olivia Cook to blast the Lutes 88-52 at the Stoller Center and rebound from the previous night’s 68-65 setback to Linfield. Pacific shot 53 percent from the field — including a blistering 55 percent from 3-point range — against Pacific Lutheran, showing just how good the Boxers can be when they put everything together.

“I knew we’re capable of it, so I’m not surprised by it,” Pacific coach Sharon Rissmiller said. “It’s nice to have that happen, our team to play so well together. It was a great team effort.

“It’s such a competitive conference that you never expect to ever win that significantly, so I’m a little bit surprised, but on the other hand, I’m not shocked because I know our team’s capable of it.”

Cook, a 6-foot senior guard from Beaverton, was absolutely sensational, finishing with 23 points, 17 rebounds and nine assists, all game-highs. She was incredibly efficient in reaching those totals, going 9-for-10 from field-goal range and 5-for-6 from the free throw line.

That effort, combined with a four-point, 15-rebound, four-assist outing against Linfield on Friday, deservedly earned Cook Northwest Conference student-athlete of the week honors.

“I didn’t have any idea until I came off,” said Cook, who was subbed out with a few minutes remaining. “And then they were telling me, ‘One more.’”

While all of Cook’s game was impressive, it was perhaps her passing against Pacific Lutheran that was the key to breaking the game open.

The Boxers (8-11, 4-6 NWC) jumped out to a 9-0 lead in the first few minutes before the Lutes (4-14, 1-8 NWC) reeled them back in, and after that neither team led by more than a handful of points in the first half.

Until late in the half, that is, when Pacific drained three consecutive 3-point shots, by Nani Ostrom, Kyla Siri and Kaila Johnson. On two of those shots, Cook got the ball in the low post and then kicked it out to the open teammate, who didn’t miss, helping the Boxers turn a five-point lead into a 41-27 advantage at halftime.

The Lutes would get no closer the rest of the way. In fact, Pacific held PLU without a field goal for a seven-minute stretch in the second half, and the Lutes scored half of their second-half points in the game’s final five minutes.

It was certainly a galvanizing effort for the Boxers, who lost not only the Linfield game Friday but also starter Abby Jones to a knee injury. Johnson and Sarah Curl led Pacific, which was missing Ostrom in that contest, with 15 points apiece.

Ostrom returned Saturday to score 18 points, going 6-for-8 from 3-point range. Johnson and Curl also hit double figures with 10 points apiece, and Kelsey Misseldine added nine points in an effort that matched the team’s highest scoring output of the season.

“I think we all kind of just came back tonight and wanted to play for A.J., for one, and just kind of take our anger out,” Cook said. “We were pretty frustrated about that loss last night.”

Next up are two more chances for Pacific to gain some ground in the NWC standings. Most of the Boxers’ losses in the first NWC go-round were close ones, but if they play like they did Saturday, it could make for an impressive late-season run.

The team entertains Puget Sound (15-3, 6-3 NWC) at 6 p.m. on Friday and travels to Lewis & Clark (6-13, 3-7 NWC) Saturday for a 4 p.m. tilt.

Though the victory was a big one, afterward, Rissmiller was already prepared to get back to work.

“I’m going to enjoy it tonight and get back to it again tomorrow,” she said. “It is such a competitive conference that you really just can’t really enjoy it too long.

“With three teams in the top 25 in the country — and realistically there probably should be four — it’s that tough.”

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