George Fox Clinches NWC Regular Season Title with Win over Bearcats

Kassin Hopkins (Jr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College)
Kassin Hopkins (Jr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

NEWBERG, Ore. -- George Fox University ended the first quarter with a 13-3 run for a 28-13 lead and went on to defeat visiting Willamette University, 85-44, in a Northwest Conference women's basketball game on Friday, Feb. 15 at the Wheeler Sports Complex. George Fox, ranked #11 in the Top 25 Poll, upped its record to 22-3 overall, 15-1 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 10-14 on the season, 5-10 in the NWC.

With the win, GFU clinched sole possession of the NWC regular season title. The Bruin. which has completed its regular season schedule, will open the NWC Tournament on Thursday, Feb. 21 in Newberg. George Fox will play a team to be determined after the regular season concludes on Saturday, Feb. 16. Willamette will close out the season by hosting Lewis & Clark College on Saturday at Cone Field House, starting at 4 p.m. (PST).

The Bruins started the scoring with a 3-pointer by Emily Spencer 30 seconds into the game, but a layup from Amanda Carpenter (So., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) and two free throws by Drew Farmer (Jr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) gave Willamette a 4-3 lead with 8:36 left in the opening quarter. Matney Jamieson added a layup for George Fox to give the Bruins the lead and start a 10-0 run.

After trailing 13-4 at the 4:47 mark, the Bearcats answered with a 3-pointer by Kassin Hopkins (Jr., G, Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College). Haylee Hutzler tacked on a jumper for the Bruins, and then Hopkins swished another 3-pointer for Willamette to cut GFU's lead to 15-10. The Bruins then put together their 13-3 run to bring a 15-point advantage into the second quarter. The run began with a traditional three-point play by Hailey Hartney and later included a 3-point basket by Hutzler.

George Fox extended its run by scoring the first 17 points of the second quarter, completing an overall surge of 30-3 for the Bruins. WU trailed 45-13 with 4:00 remaining in the half, and although the Bearcats outsccored GFU 9-6 over the remainder of the second quarter, the Bruins were in front 51-22 at the break.

Hopkins hit a 3-pointer during Willamette's run to end the half. She led the Bearcats with nine points in the first two quarters and finished with a team-high 14 points. She also led WU with four rebounds.

Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.) finished with seven points and three rebounds. Avery Mickelsen (Fr., C, Ephrata, WA/Ephrata HS) contributed five points, while four other Bearcats each scored four points. Farmer led the team with seven assists and was one of the players with four points.

Hutzler topped the Bruins with 17 points. She was 6 for 8 from the field, including 2 for 2 on 3-point shots. Tavin Headings provided GFU with 11 points, while Hartney earned nine points. Emil Dufour grabbed eight rebounds for George Fox, while Hutzler and Headings each registered five boards.