Bearcats Defeat Ohio Northern 43-41 to go 2-0 at Classic

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

LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, Oregon/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.) provided Willamette University with 13 points and 14 rebounds to lead the Bearcats to a 43-41 victory over Ohio Northern University during the Classic on Friday, Dec. 28 at South Point Resort and Casino. It was Kochenderfer's seventh double-double of the season and the 10th time in 11 games that she has scored 10 or more points.

Willamette led 41-31 entering the fourth quarter and held on for the win by continuing to play solid defense. The Bearcats were outscored 10-2 over the final 10 minutes, but never lost the lead. WU limited Ohio Northern to 17-of-54 shooting (31.5%) for the game.

The Bearcats moved to 5-6 on the season, including 5-3 in their last eight games. Willamette finished 2-0 at the Classic. Ohio Northern fell to 7-5 overall, 1-1 in Las Vegas.

"The team did an amazing job of coming together and fighting through adversity," Willamette Head Coach Peg Swadener said. "They truly earned it today."

WU led 30-22 at halftime and scored seven of the first 10 points in the third quarter to build a 12-point advantage at 37-25 with 3:49 left. Elizabeth Logsdon (Jr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) began the run with a layup. After Jenna Dirksen of ONU scored on a 3-pointer, Kochenderfer added the final five points of the run with a 3-point basket and a layup.

Ohio Northern earned the next basket on a layup by Emily Mescher to pull within 37-27. Kochenderfer hit a 3-pointer at the 2:12 mark and sank the second of two free throws with 1:24 on the clock, as the Bearcats increased their margin to 41-27. Tori Wyss and Abby Weeks each scored on a jump shot for the Polar Bears to cut the lead to 10 points late in the third quarter.

Neither teams scored during the first three minutes of the fourth quarter. Alyssa Manley of ONU put through a basket and a foul shot with 6:50 remaining. Mescher tacked on a layup with 6:21 to go, pulling the Polar Bears within 41-36. Morgan Yamane (Fr., F, Moses Lake, WA/Moses Lake HS) of Willamette sank a jumper, assisted by Kochenderfer, for a 43-36 edge with 4:47 left.

Willamette's seven-point lead was gradually reduced by the Polar Bears, but Ohio Northern was unable to catch the Bearcats. Dirksen hit 1 of 2 free throws at the 4:29 mark. Later an offensive rebound and layup by Mescher with 2:01 to play, cut the margin to 43-39. Mescher recorded a steal with 1:45 left and scored on a layup with 1:31 to go, as ONU moved within 43-41.

The Polar Bears had two more possessions. The first ended with a turnover by Dirksen. The second, which followed a steal by Manley with 24 seconds on the clock, ended when Mescher missed a layup with three seconds remaining. The rebound went off a Polar Bear and out of play. Willamette called timeout to advance to the ball into the front court, then ran out the final seconds.

In addition to contributing a double-double, Kochenderfer also registered three assists and a steal. Logsdon supplied the Bearcats with 10 points and six rebounds, while going 4 for 4 at the free throw line. Hopkins tallied eight points, and matched Kochenderfer with two 3-point baskets.

Weeks led Ohio Northern with 11 points and five steals. Mescher supplied 10 points and five rebounds. Weeks and Mescher each went 5 for 10 from the field, but the rest of the Polar Bears were 7 of 34 (17.6%). Dirksen scored nine points, while Wyss was credited with five points and five boards. ONU was 4 of 14 (28.6%) from 3-point range.

WU outscored Ohio Northern 13-7 in the first quarter behind five points from Hopkins and four points each from Kochenderfer and Logsdon. In the second quarter, Amanda Carpenter (So., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) scored five points, as the Bearcats achieved a 17-15 margin to claim their 30-22 halftime lead.

For the game, the Bearcats shot 32.66% against the Polar Bears (15 of 46) and made 6 of 26 three-point shots (23.1%), while attaining a 40-28 rebounding margin. Willamette played its second game in as many days without starting point guard Drew Farmer (Jr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookiings-Harbor HS) due to an injury. The Bearcats also played without Kali Vickery (Sr., G, Glide, OR/Glide HS), who was injured late in Willamette's 70-66 win over University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Thursday (Dec. 27).

Willamette doesn't play again until Friday, Jan. 4, when the Bearcats will host Linfield College in Northwest Conference action. Game time at Cone Field House is set for 6 p.m. (PST).

Morgan Yamane (Fr., Moses Lake, WA/Moses Lake HS)

Big Moment of the Game for Willamette

Morgan Yamane hit a key basket in the fourth quarter to
help Willamette defeat a quality opponent in a tight game,
as the Bearcats played their second game in two days without
point guard Drew Farmer. Yamane's successful jump shot with
4:47 left in the game produced a 43-36 lead for the Bearcats,
who went on to defeat Ohio Northern. Yamane, a freshman,
started the game and played 30 minutes in the 43-41 win.