Willamette Falls to Warner Pacific 81-76 in Overtime, as Bearcats Open Season

Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.)
Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Madison Ballard (Fr., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS) hit a game-tying 3-pointer for Willamette University with just over one second left in regulation, but Warner Pacific University outscored the Bearcats 13-8 in overtime to grab an 81-76 win on Saturday, Nov. 10 at Cone Field House. Warner Pacific, which competes in the NAIA and the Cascade Collegiate Conference, advanced its record to 2-0 on the season. It was the season-opener for the Bearcats, who are members of NCAA Division III and the Northwest Conference.

Willamette trailed 68-65 late in regulation after Deepika Kapil sank the second of two free throws with about seven seconds left. The Bearcats called a timeout and advanced the ball to the offensive half of court. After Willamette sent the ball in-bounds, Drew Farmer (So., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) found Ballard open in the right corner. Ballard swished her 3-point effort with 1.1 seconds to go.

The Knights scored the first six points of overtime to take a 74-68 lead. Two of the three baskets to start the overtime were recorded by Payton Whitmore. Gabriella Bruno added the third basket on a layup with 1:40 left.

Amanda Carpenter (Fr., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) of Willamette sank a 3-pointer with 36 seconds remaining in overtime to pull the Bearcats within 74-71. A bit later, WU cut the lead to three points once again at 76-73 on two free throws by Farmer with 26 second on the clock. Katelyn Rossback converted one of two free throw for Warner Pacific three seconds later, and Deepika Kapil made two free throws with 14 seconds left to give the Pirates a 79-73 advantage.

After Ballard missed a 3-pointer with eight seconds to go, the Bearcats fouled Kapil, who tacked on two free throws for WPU with five seconds left. Ballard scored the game's final basket on a 3-pointer with one second remaining.

"It was nice to finally measure ourselves against outside competition," Willamette Head Coach Peg Swadener said. "We need to clean up our fouls and turnovers, but overall I feel there were a lot of good things tonight that we can build on. We new coming into this year that we would need the preseason games to prepare us for conference. While we were disappointed with the loss, being able to take an athletic team like Warner Pacific into overtime will do nothing but help us in the future."

The first quarter was high-scoring and close. There were five ties and seven lead changes during the quarter, which ended with Willamette holding a 22-20 edge. Both teams shot 50% during the quarter, as Willmette made 9 of 18 shots, including 4 of 9 on 3-pointers. The Knights were 6 of 12 from the field and 1 for 1 on 3-pointers. Warner Pacific went 9 for 10 at the line, while Willamette did not take a free throw during the first 10 minutes.

Willamette trailed by as many as five points in the second quarter at 27-22 following a layup by Bruno at the 8:28 mark. Willamette later held a 39-36 advantage on a 3-pointer by Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.) with 2:20 to go. The Knights took a 40-39 lead into the break after Bruno sank the second of two free throws with 11 seconds left. There were five ties and four lead changes in the second quarter.

In the third quarter, the Bearcats took charge, as they outscored Warner Pacific 20-11 to grab a 59-51 lead. The score was tied at 47-47 midway through the quarter, but Willamette responded with a 12-4 run. Kochenderfer earned eight points for the Bearcats during the quarter.

Warner Pacific tallied the first six points of the fourth quarter to pull within 59-57 on a layup by Kendyl Cone with 6:13 left. WU scored next on a basket by Kochenderfer, but the Knights used a 5-0 run, ending with a 3-pointer by Rossback, to claim a 62-61 lead with 3:22 remaining in regulation. Kali Vickery (Sr., G, Glide, OR/Glide HS) of Willamette scored next on a layup with 2:58 to play, as the Bearcats moved in front, 63-62. Another 3-pointer by Rossback gave WPU a 65-63 edge with 54 seconds left.

For the game, Willamette shot 43.1% from the field (28 of 65), including 35.3% from 3-point range (12 of 34). The Bearcats were 8 of 12 at the free throw line. Warner Pacific connected on 36.7% of its shots (22 of 60) and hit 3 of 7 three-pointers. The Knights held a large advantage in free throws, as they hit 34 of 46 shots (73.9%) from the line.

The Bearcats will play at home again on Monday, Nov. 12, when they will take on Northwest Christian University. Game time is scheduled for 7 p.m. (PST).

Madison Ballaard (Fr., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS)

Big Moment of the Game for Willamette

Freshman guard Madison Ballard sent the game into
overtime when she swished through a 3-point basket
with 1.1 seconds left in regulation. She also scored on
a 3-pointer late in overtime. In addition, Ballard earned
three assists and one steal for the Bearcats.