Bearcats Lead from Start to Finish in 68-42 Win over Pacific Lutheran

Madi Andresen (Jr., P, Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS)
Madi Andresen (Jr., P, Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

PARKLAND, Wash. -- Willamette University scored the game's first 10 points, held a 34-19 halftime lead, and pulled away over the final two quarters to defeat Pacific Lutheran University, 68-42, on Saturday, Jan. 7 at Olson Gymnasium. Madi Andresen (Jr., P, Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS) led the Bearcats with 16 points, while Kylie Towry (Sr./Jr., G, Medford, OR/South Medford HS) provided 15 points.

The Bearcats upped their record to 9-4 overall, 2-2 in the Northwest Conference. Pacific Lutheran fell to 1-2 on the season, including 0-4 in the NWC.

Andresen was 7 of 12 from the field. She also tied for the team lead with nine rebounds. Towry was 5 of 11 on field goals, including 5 of 9 on 3-point shots. Alex Wert (Sr., F, Spokane, WA/St. George's HS) matched Andresen with nine boards for the Bearcats.

Sarah Heinly (Fr., G, Bend, OR/Summit HS) scored 11 points for WU. she connected on three 3-point baskets. Mary Eckenrode (Jr., G, Higley, AZ/Highland HS) and Ashley Evans (Jr., PG, Canby, OR/Canby HS) each achieved five assists, helping the Bearcats register 19 assists on 24 baskets.

Anna Hurd topped the Lutes with eight points on 4-for-7 shooting. She grabbed six rebounds and earned two steals. Lacey Nicholson added seven points and hauled down six boards. Kaelyn Voss supplied PLU with five assists.

Willamette's 10-0 run to start the game began with a traditional three-point play on a basket and a foul shot by Andresen. The run included a total of seven points by Andresen, plus a 3-pointer by Evans.

PLU moved within 10-6 when Marleisha Cox hit 1 of 2 free throws with 6:21 left in the first quarter. The teams exchanged baskets over the remainder of the period, leaving the Bearcats with a 16-12 advantage after 10 minutes.

The Bearcats opened the second quarter with eight unanswered points, and Willamette led 24-12 with 7:25 remaining in the half. Towry scored six of the points on a pair of 3-pointers. The Lutes pulled within 24-15 after Julie Berenson sank 1 of 2 free throws at the 5:20 mark and then added a layup with 4:35 to go.

Evans hit a 3-pointer for Willamette to start a 10-0 run that ended with a 3-pointer by Heinly with 1:22 left, as the Bearcats claimed a 34-15 lead. PLU earned the final four points of the half.

Willamette scored to start the second half when Andresen grabbed an offensive rebound and put in on a layup just under a minute into the third quarter. PLU answered with a 7-0 run on two layups by Nicholson and a 3-pointer by Samantha Kelleigh at the 6:23 mark, as the Lutes pulled within 36-26.

The Bearcats extended the lead to 43-27 after Drew Farmer (Fr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) provided a layup with 3:29 on the clock. PLU cut the margin to 43-31 on two jumpers by Hurd. Willamette ended the third quarter with a 9-0 run on two 3-point baskets by Towry and one trifecta by Evans. 

WU held a 52-31 advantage after three periods. The Bearcats opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer by Heinly and remained in front by at least 20 points the rest of the way.

Willamette connected on 24 of 61 shots from the field (39.2%) and hit 11 of 24 three-point attempts (45.8%). The Bearcats have scored on 10 or more 3-pointers in six games this season, and have earned at least nine 3-pointers in each of their last four games.

The Lutes were held to 33.3% field goal shooting (17 of 51). PLU converted 2 of 8 three-point shots.

The Bearcats will host George Fox University at Cone Field House on Friday, Jan. 13 at 6 p.m. (PST). George Fox (11-2, 3-1 NWC) is ranked #20 in the Top 25.