By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University held a 36-19 lead over Evergreen State College (Wash.) with 7:44 left in the third quarter on Saturday, Nov. 16. Evergreen State scored the next 14 points to pull within 36-33 just over five minutes later. Willamette responded with an 11-1 run to end the quarter, and the Bearcats went on to defeat the Geoducks, 58-45, at Cone Field House. WU held a double-digit lead throughout the fourth quarter and led by 17 points with 2:19 remaining.
Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.) provided the Bearcats with a double-double, as she scored 12 points and hauled down 13 rebounds. She scored six of her points and earned five rebounds after Evergreen's 14-point run. Drew Farmer (Jr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) and Kassin Hopkins (Jr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College) tacked on 10 points each. Farmer also registered a game-high four assists.
Avery Mickelsen (Fr., Ephrata, WA/Ephrata HS) earned eight points and four rebounds for Willamette, while hitting 3 of 3 field goals and going 2 for 2 at the free throw line. Elizabeth Logsdon (Jr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) chipped in six points and seven rebounds.
Deidra Miller scored 13 points to lead the Geoducks. Imani Dunn finished with 11 points and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.
"It was really nice to finally get that first win," Willamette Head Coach Peg Swadener said. "Aside from some challenges we faced in the third quarter, I was happy with our defense tonight. It's helpful to rely on the strength of our defense as we continue to build on our offense."
The Bearcats improved to 1-3 on the season. Evergreen State fell to 1-2. The game was part of the second round of the Bruin Classic, which was primarily hosted by George Fox University. Willamette fell to Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 56-54, in the first round on Friday, Nov. 16 at the Wheeler Sports Center on the GFU campus.
Willamette started strong and built a 10-4 lead with 5:54 left in the opening quarter. The early success included a 3-pointer by Kali Vickery (Sr., G, Glide, OR/Glide HS) and two layups by Logsdon. Later in the quarter, the Bearcats claimed a 13-6 lead on a 3-pointer by Amanda Carpenter (So., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) with 2:43 on the clock. The Geoducks added a free throw for the final point of the quarter.
Evergreen State scored on a basket by Merrily Jones 11 seconds into the second quarter, before the Bearcats went on a 9-2 run to grab a 22-11 advantage. Kochenderfer provided a 3-pointer and a fast-break layup during the run. Willamette extended the margin to 15 points at 28-13 following a jumper by Lucy Morrill (Jr./So., G, Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) with 1:32 left in the quarter. The Bearcats owned a 28-15 edge at halftime.
The Bearcats registered eight of the first 12 points in the second half, ending with a 3-pointer by Farmer for a 36-19 advantage. Evergreen State answered with its 14-0 run to pull within three points at 36-33. Miller and Dunn each scored six points during the offensive explosion.
Willamette recovered from the threat issued by the Geoducks, as the Bearcats scored the next six points on one 3-pointer each by Kochenderfer and Hopkins for a 42-33 lead at the 1:35 mark in the third quarter. After Dunn tacked on a free throw for ESC, Hopkins sank another 3-pointer for a 45-34 advantage. Mickelsen provided WU with two free throws just two seconds before the quarter ended to give the Bearcats a 47-34 lead.
Three-point shooting and team defense made a big difference for the Bearcats. Willamette hit 8 of 24 three-point shots (33.3%), including a 5-for-9 performance during the third quarter. The Bearcats shot 33.9% from the field (21 of 62) overall, while holding Evergreen State to 30.8% on field goals (16 of 52). The Geoducks did not make a 3-pointer, as ESC went 0 for 11 from beyind the arc. Willamette also benefited from a 46-36 rebounding margin.
The Bearcats will take on Pomona-Pitzer (Calif.) on Tuesday, Nov. 20 in Claremont, California. Game time is slated for 5:30 p.m. (PST). Willamette will play at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California, on Wednesday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m.
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
Kassin Hopkins sank two key 3-pointers late in the third
quarter to help the Bearcats steal momentum back from
Evergreen State. The Geoducks had scored 14 consecutive
points to pull as close as 36-33, but the pair of 3-pointers
by Hopkins contributed to an 11-1 surge by the Bearcats
to end the quarter and regain control of the game.