Big third quarter Sends 25th-Ranked Carroll Past Willamette, 73-63

Ashley Evans (Jr., PG, Canby, OR/Canby HS)
Ashley Evans (Jr., PG, Canby, OR/Canby HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

HELENA, Mont. -- Carroll College (Mont.) trailed 35-27 at halftime, but scored the first eight points of the second half and outscored Willamette University 27-12 in the third quarter, as the Saints defeated the Bearcats, 73-63, on Wednesday, Dec. 21. Carroll, ranked #25 in the NAIA Division I Women's Basketball Poll, improved to 9-3 on the season. Willamette, which competes in NCAA Division III, fell to 7-3.

The Saints entered the fourth quarter with a 54-47 advantage. Willamette got as close as three points at 63-60 following a 3-point basket by Ashley Evans (Jr., PG, Canby, OR/Canby HS) with 2:45 remaining in the game.

Brittney Johnson answered with a 3-pointer for Carroll at the 2:14 mark. The trifecta by Johnson started a 10-3 run by the Saints to close out the game.

Cassidy Hashley led Carroll with 22 points and nine rebounds. She was 8 of 16 from the field. Johnson added 18 points, three rebounds and two assists, while hitting 3 of 3 shots from 3-point range and sinking 9 of 10 free throws.

Hannah Dean also reached double figures for the Saints, as she scored 14 points, blocked four shots and earned two steals. Baylee Watson grabbed eight rebounds.

Willamette's top scorer was Evans with 14 points to go along with two assists. Evans was 5 of 9 on field goals, including 3 of 7 on 3-point attempts. Sarah Heinly (Fr., G, Bend, OR/Summit HS) provided the Bearcats with 13 points in 12 minutes on the court. She was 5 of 11 from the field and 3 of 7 on 3-pointers.

Madi Andresen (Jr., P, Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS) scored 12 points and grabbed four rebounds for WU. She connected on 6 of 8 field goals. Kylie Towry (Sr./Jr., G, Medford, OR/South Medford HS) supplied 10 points, three rebounds, five assists and two steals.

The Bearcats took a 10-5 lead in the first quarter. The early offensive output included one 3-pointer each by Towry and Evans after Towry opened the scoring with two free throws. Andresen completed the run on a jumper with 7:07 left.

A bit later, Willamette owned a 13-6 lead following a 3-pointer from Towry with 5:20 remaining. Carroll battled back with a 10-3 run to tie the game at 16-16. Sara Chalich created the tie with a jumper at the 12-second mark.

The Saints held slim leads of 18-16 and 20-18 early in the second quarter. WU then scored 10 of the next 12 points for a 28-22 advantage on a 3-pointer Heinly with 2:54 left in the half.

Carroll pulled within 30-27 on a pair of free throws by Johnson, but the Bearcats ended the half on a 5-0 run. All five points were scored by Heinly on a jumper with 1:35 to go and a 3-pointer with 20 seconds on the clock. Heinly tallied 10 of Willamette's 19 points during the quarter.

Three-point baskets from Johnson and Hashley keyed Carroll's 8-0 run to tie score at the start of the third quarter. WU took a 37-35 lead on a jumper by Andresen at the 7:32 mark, but the Saints countered with a 6-0 run to claim a 41-37 edge with 5:19 left in the quarter.

Willamette cut the deficit to a single point Heinly connected on a 3-pointer 17 seconds later. A 7-0 run by the Saints extended the margin to 48-40. WU pulled within five points twice, before Carroll ended the quarter with a seven-point lead at 54-47 on a jumper by Taylor Salonen with five seconds left.

Carroll shot 51.9% for the game (27 of 52), including 39.3% (11 of 28) in the first half and 66.7% (16 of 24) in the second half. The Saints made 6 of 10 shots from 3-point range -- 5 of 7 in the second half -- and converted 13 of 17 free throws (76.5%).

The Bearcats hit 24 of 55 field goals for 43.6%, including 9 of 22 on three-pointers (40.9%). Willamette put through 6 of 13 three-pointers in the first half. WU finished the game 6 of 9 at the free throw line.

On the glass, the Saints claimed a 37-23 rebounding edge. The Saints also committed 13 turnovers, while the Bearcats were credited with nine turnovers.

Willamette will return to action on Monday, Jan. 2, when the Bearcats will host Multnomah University in a non-conference game. Tipoff at Cone Field House is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).