By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Linfield College built a 21-8 lead in the first quarter, but Willamette University battled back to claim a 47-42 advantage just past the midway point of the third quarter in their Northwest Conference women's basketball game on Friday, Jan. 4 at Cone Field House. Linfield responded with a strong end to the third quarter, and the Wildcats achieved a 21-13 scoring edge in the final quarter, to defeat the Bearcats, 72-60. Linfield advanced its record to 5-7 on the season, 1-2 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 5-7 overall, 0-3 in the NWC.
Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.) and Amanda Carpenter (So., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) hit the nets for a total of 42 points. Kochenderfer scored 23 points on 9-of-16 shooting, while Carpenter registered a career-high 19 points. Kochenderfer, who went 4 for 6 from 3-point range, also hauled down a game-high 15 rebounds. Drew Farmer (Jr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) scored six points, while Morgan Yamane (Fr., Moses Lake, WA/Moses Lake HS) finished with five rebounds.
Kochenderfer was just one point away from matching her career high of 24 points, set at Whitman College on Feb. 16, 2018. She has scored more than 20 points twice this season and has recorded double-digit scoring in each of Willamette's last nine game.
The Wildcats' efforts were topped by Molly Danielson with 27 points and 10 rebounds. She hit 11 of 18 field goals. Cameron Reuter tacked on 17 points to go along with five rebounds. Kory Oleson recorded 14 points, while Cassidy Schutz was credited with nine points and six boards.
Kochenderfer scored the game's first basket, but Linfield countered with a 9-0 run to move in front 9-2 with 6:46 left in the opening quarter. The run included a traditional three-point play by Oleson. A bit later, WU cut the lead to 12-6 on a jumper by Kochenderfer. The Bearcats wee also within six points at 14-8 following a layup by Kassin Hopkins (Jr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College) with 2:36 on the clock. Linfield closed out the quarter with a 7-0 run.
Willamette recovered well in the second quarter with a 20-11 scoring edge. Even so, Linfield held a 31-18 lead after Oleson put through a jumper at the 3:57 mark. The Bearcats scored 10 of the last 11 points in the half to pull within 32-28 at the break. The run included on 3-pointer each by Madison Ballard (Fr., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS) and Kochenderfer.
Linfield scored two of the first three baskets in the second half for a 36-30 lead, but it took Willamette just 2:10 to go on a 10-0 run and move in front 40-36 with 6:57 left in the third quarter. The quick surge by the Bearcats began with a 3-pointer by Kochenderfer and continued with a layup by Carpenter and a jumper from Kochenderfer. Carpenter completed the run with a 3-point basket.
The teams exchanged several baskets, with Kochenderfer's 3-pointer at the 4:11 mark giving WU a 47-42 lead. Linfield scored the final nine points of the third quarter to take a 51-47 edge into the final 10 minutes.
Maggie Smith tacked on a jumper for the Wildcats 28 seconds into the fourth quarter. The Bearcats reduced the lead to 53-50 when Carpenter scored and tacked on a free throw with 8:21 left. Willamette trailed 57-52 with 5:57 to go following a jumper by Hopkins. The Bearcats were behind by just six points, 61-55, with 3:20 remaining on a layup by Elizabeth Logsdon (Jr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS).
Linfield extended its margin to 65-55 a bit later on a layup by Schutz with 1:35 to play. Carpenter scored next on a jumper for Willamette, but the Wildcats hit 7 of 8 free throws to lead 72-57 with 29 seconds on the clock.
The Wildcats shot 49.1% from the field (27 of 55), while hitting 2 of 6 from 3-point range and converting 16 of 22 free throws (72.7%). Linfield earned a 36-33 rebounding margin. Willamette made 23 of 59 field goals (39.0%), including 6 of 20 from beyond the 3-point arc. WU connected on 8 of 11 free throws (72.7%).
Willamette will play again at Pacific Lutheran University in Tacoma, Washington, on Saturday, Jan. 5. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. (PST).
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
Amanda Carpenter hit a 3-point basket with 6:57 left in the
third quarter to give the Bearcats a 40-36 lead. She scored
seven points -- ending with the 3-pointer -- during a 12-4
run by Willamette to open the second half. Carpenter finished
the game with a career-high 19 points, breaking her previous
high of 12 points, set in two games earlier this season.