NEWBERG, Ore. -- A banked-in 3-pointer by Lewis & Clark College’s Katie Anderson as time expired was ruled too late and the George Fox University Bruins escaped with a 52-50 win against the Pioneers in the NCAA Division III Women’s Basketball National Tournament West Regional final Saturday night at the Wheeler Sports Center’s Miller Gym.

The game was a defensive tussle all night long, particularly in the first half as both teams struggled to put the ball in the net. George Fox hit its first three shots with layups by Hannah Munger, Hayley Cusick, and Megan Arnoldy as the Bruins took leads of 4-0 and 6-3, but were only 2-for-19 the rest of the half to finish with a .238 percentage. The Pioneers managed only a .280 mark (7-for-25) in the period.

Lewis & Clark led only once in the first half, at 9-8 after two free throws by Margaret Dowling with 11:55 left. After an Arnoldy layup put the Bruins back in front, they twice more took four-point leads, the last at 15-11 on two Gordon free throws at the 7:32 mark. The Bruins then went over five minutes without scoring, enabling the Pios to tie it on baskets by Neva Hauser and Anderson. Two more Gordon free throws at 1:58 made it 17-15, but Kristina Williams, the Pios’ leading scorer, hit her only bucket of the game, a jumper in the lane with nine seconds left, to make the halftime score 17-17.

Hauser hit a 3-pointer to open the second half as the Pios took their largest lead of 20-17, but the Bruins put together their best offensive run over the next six minutes to go up by six at 33-27 with 13:17 remaining on a drive and free throw by Jami Roos. Megan Spence’s three-ball got the Pios going again, and the Bruins’ lead wavered between one and five points the rest of the way.

Spence banked in another 3 to pull the Pios within one at 48-47 with 1:23 left, but Gordon drove for a layup with 34 seconds left, then made a hug steal inside with 18 seconds to play. Arianna Mohsenian’s two free throws with 14 ticks to go made it 52-47 Bruins, but Anderson was fouled under the basket to stop the clock with 11 seconds left. She missed both free throws, but the Pios rebounded and Anderson hit a 3-pointer with six seconds left to make it a two-point game at 52-50.

The Bruins’ Dacia Heckendorf was fouled with 4.5 seconds to go, but missed both of her chances and Hauser rebounded, then got the ball to Anderson. Her running 3-point try at the end banked off the glass and in, but instead of a stunning win, the shot was waved off after a conference among the three game officials and the alternate at the scoring table, giving the Bruins the nail-biting victory.

The Bruins finished with a .359 shooting percentage (14-39) after making half their shots (9-18) in the second half. The Pios struggled all game long for any consistency and wound up at .286 (16-56) from the field. The Pios shot well from long distance (5-10, .500), but the Bruins missed badly from outside, hitting only 2-17 (.118) from three-point range. Lewis & Clark held a 41-37 edge on the glass.

Gordon led all scorers with 18 points, her 12-for-12 game from the line one short of the Bruins’ single-game record of 13-for-13 by Elise Kuenzi against Whitman College during the 2008-09 national championship season. Arnoldy and Munger added 10 points apiece, and Gordon and Munger made it a double-double night with 12 and 11 rebounds respectively. Gordon also had five steals, and Munger blocked five shots.

Spence paced the Pios with 15 points and Hauser added 12, but Williams managed only six points and hit only one of 16 shot attempts, though she did have a game-high five assists. Hauser had a double-double with 10 boards, and Anderson made three steals.