Willamette Women's Basketball Players Excel on Defense

Amanda Carpenter (So., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) on defense
Amanda Carpenter (So., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) on defense

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- The Willamette University women's basketball team has played plenty of great defense this season. The Bearcats have held 12 teams to 66 or fewer points, including four teams that finished with fewer than 50 points. Willamette is 7-5 when holding teams to 66 points or less. The season low for points allowed was achieved in a 43-41 win against Ohio Northern University on Dec. 28 at the D3hoops.com Classic in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Defense can win games. Last year, the Bearcats went 17-10 on the season while allowing 61.9 points per game. The year, the Bearcats are 7-10 overall, with all seven wins occurring in games where the opponents finished at 66 points or less. It's a solid accomplishment for a team that graduated six seniors from last year's squad and has played a challenging non-conference and Northwest Conference schedule.

Willamette is 4-1 this season when the opponents shoot 33% or less on field goals. The Bearcats are a solid 6-2 when they limit the opponents to 37% or less from the field. In addition, WU is 4-2 on the season when holding teams to 25% or less from 3-point range. It may be a rebuilding year on paper, but Willamette is allowing just 61.7 points per game, despite playing such strong foes as George Fox University (14-3) and Whitman College (13-4) in the NWC, plus non-conference foes Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (17-2) and Corban University (14-7).

The Bearcats have blocked 46 shots, while opponents have blocked only 25 shots by the Bearcats. Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.) leads the way for the Bearcats with 17 blocks, an average of 1.0 per game. Elizabeth Logsdon (Jr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) has blocked 12 shots. Another defensive highlight for Willamette occurred against Evergreen State College (Wash.), when the Bearcats held the Geoducks without a 3-point basket on 0 for 11 shooting from 3-point range.

In addition to strong defensive play, Willamette also has offensive threats. Kochenderfer is averaging 14.7 points per game and has scored in double figures in 16 of 17 games, including four games with 20 or more points. Amanda Carpenter (So., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) has contributed 9.8 points per game. Kassin Hopkins (Jr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College) has supplied 8.1 points per game, while Logsdon has scored 7.6 points per contest.

Four Bearcats have been successful on more than 10 three-point attempts. Kochenderfer ranks first on the team with 38 three-pointers. Hopkins has scored on 24 three-point tries, Carpenter has connected on 22 trifectas, and Madison Ballard (Fr., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS) has put through 12 long-range shots. In addition to her scoring prowess, Kochenderfer has grabbed an average of 11.6 rebounds per game to lead the NWC.

Willamette is back in action tonight (Frdiay, Jan. 25) against Whitman. Game time at Cone Field House is set for 6 p.m. (PST). Whitman fell out of the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll this week, but is the top team receiving votes outside of the Top 25. The Bearcat will remain at home on Saturday, Jan. 26 to take on Whitworth University at 4 p.m.