George Fox downs rival Lewis & Clark 70-65 on the road and pounds Pacific 78-48 at home

Avenging a pair of losses in Portland a year ago, including a Northwest Conference semifinal defeat that ended its season, George Fox University prevailed 70-65 over rival Lewis & Clark Friday night.

The Bruins followed up the crucial early-season road victory with a 78-48 drubbing of Pacific Saturday night, extending their season-opening win streak to 13 games and leaving them perched atop the NWC standings with fellow title contenders Whitworth and Whitman at 4-0.

The Pamplin Sports Center has been a tough place to win in recent seasons, but George Fox came out of the gate hot, shooting more than 55 percent from the floor in the first half to take a 37-34 lead.

“They’re always good competition for us, so we just wanted to come out and play our best game, play as a team and make sure we shut them down on defense,” said senior Megan Arnoldy, who scored 12 points in the first half. “They’re such a strong team, too, so we have a lot of respect for them. Offensively we played really well as a team and got clean shots.”

The Bruins went on an 8-0 run early in the second half to build their biggest lead of the game at 54-43 with 11:29 remaining, but the Pioneers scored 10 straight of their own to get right back in the game. by: SETH GORDON - Put back- Lauren Codling rises for two of her nine points during George Fox's 78-48 victory over Pacific Saturday night at Miller Gym. The No. 8 Bruins are 13-0 overall and 4-0 in the Northwest Conference.

GFU maintained a small lead down the stretch, with senior Hayley Cusick sinking a jumper in the lane to make it 69-65 with 1:12 to play.

With the result riding on its defense, the Bruins kept Lewis & Clark off the board the rest of the way, with Cusick blocking one of the Pioneers’ four shots in that span.

“I feel like the maturity of this team is where we were hoping it would be,” head coach Michael Meek said. “We were young last year and had a lot of kids get a lot of experience that were good and we feel are paying off this year.”

Arnoldy led George Fox with 18 points and Lauren Codling added 10 off the bench, as the Bruins shot 0.549 for the game, but struggled mightily at the free throw line, where a 7-for-16 effort may have prevented a more comfortable win.

Coming off such a physically and emotionally taxing game the night before, Meeks’ team may have been primed for a slow start at home Saturday and Pacific, which hadn’t played since Tuesday, was ready to pounce.

George Fox did not play poorly, but could not buy a bucket in the early going and with the Boxers dominating on the boards, fell behind 11-1 after five minutes.

The Bruins soon responded, though, uncorking a 19-0 run that propelled them to a 37-20 halftime lead and set the tone for the rest of the game.

GFU quickly built its lead to more than 20 points early in the second half and never looked back; 13 different players scored, including 15 from Justine Benner.

“The way they battle through adversity is just at a much different level this year,” Meek said of his squad. “It really has been all season. In this case, the adversity was a slow start, but I also have to give Pacific credit. I have so much respect for where our league is at right now.”

The three-way tie atop the league is likely to be broken this weekend as both Whitman and Whitworth will visit Miller Gym, beginning with the Pirates Friday night.

“I just love where we’re at,” Meek said. “Obviously, we’re off to a 13-0 start and not only that, but we have some really good wins against good teams in there. I also know how good our league is and we have a very tough weekend coming up.”

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