By Brandon Chinn, Athletics Communications Writer
NEWBERG, Ore. -- George Fox University freshman Emily Spencer attempted only one 3-pointer on Saturday, Feb. 11 against Willamette University. That one shot was all she -- and the nationally-ranked Bruins -- needed.
Spencer connected on a 3-point field goal as time expired, lifting GFU to an 87-84 victory over the Bearcats at Wheeler Sports Center. With the buzzer-beating defeat, Willamette fell to 12-11 on the season (5-9 NWC). George Fox, ranked #25 in this week's D3hoops.com Top 25, upped its record to 19-4 (11-3 NWC).
Willamette's Marisa Hamilton (Sr., F, Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS) and George Fox's Kaycee Creech both scored a game-high 22 points. Alex Wert (Sr. F, Spokane, WA/St. George's HS) of Willamette finished one rebound shy of a double-double with 10 points and nine boards.
Kaitlin Jamieson tallied 21 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Bruins. Spencer scored 14 points, while Kimberly Frost earned 10 points and four steals. Jamieson and Creech each hauled down six rebounds.
The score was back and forth early on, with no team leading by more than four points through the first 11:49 of play. An 8-2 run by the Bruins from the 9:27 mark to the 7:58 mark of the second quarter widened George Fox's lead to seven, just three points off its largest lead of the first half (39-29 at halftime).
Willamette used a barrage of three-pointers by Ashley Evans (Jr., G, Canby, OR/Canby HS), Kylie Towry (Sr., G, Medford/OR, South Medford HS), Hamilton and Evans again to go on a 12-2 run and cut an 11-point deficit to just one with 3:35 left in the third quarter.
Teetering on the brink of a comeback for most of the third quarter, Willamette finally climbed the mountain to take a one-point lead, 65-64 with 8:14 left in regulation. No team led by more than five points the remainder of the contest.
Towry's fourth and final three-pointer of the night, on six attempts, keyed the dramatics, pulling WU into an 84-84 tie with nine seconds remaining.
But it was Spencer who scored the final points. Coming out of a timeout, Frost dished the ball to Spencer, who connected on the dagger 3-pointer as time expired.
The Bearcats continued their stellar performance beyond the arc, making 16 of their 29 three-point attempts. Four different players scored in double figures for Willamette, including Towry who finished with 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting. Evans scored 12 points to join, Hamilton, Wert and Towry in double figures.
WU recorded 21 assists on 29 baskets. Drew Farmer (Fr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) led the way with six assists, while Evans and Towry each provided five.
George Fox held favorable advantages in points off turnovers, 25-15, and points in the paint, 42-14. Willamette finished with a 34-27 edge in points off the bench and also held a 30-29 rebounding margin.
The Bearcats resume Northwest Conference action on Friday, Feb. 17 against Pacific University. Tip off at Cone Field House in Salem, Oregon, is set for 6:00 p.m. (PST)