By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
EUGENE, Ore. -- Kassin Hopkins (Sr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College) led Willamette University with 14 points, five rebounds, six assists and three steals against Northwest Christian University on Saturday, Nov. 9 at the Morse Event Center, but the Beacons built a 41-27 halftime lead and went on to defeat the Bearcats, 66-57.
It was the season opener for both teams. Northwest Christian is 1-0 and Willamette is 0-1. Willamette will take on Walla Walla University (Wash.) on Sunday (Nov. 10) at 3 p.m. (PST).
Hopkins was one of three Bearcats in double figures. Elizabeth Logsdon (Sr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) contributed 12 points and seven rebounds. Ashlyn Ascuena-Mercil (Fy., F, Boise, ID/Timberline HS) finished with 11 points, five boards and two blocked shots.
Sami Riggs (Fy., G, La Verne, CA/Bonita HS) provided eight points and five rebounds for Willamette. Drew Farmer (Sr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) scored six points and supplied five assists.
Morgan McKinney paced Northwest Christian with a game-high 21 points on 8 of 11 shooting. Aspen Slifka scored 13 points, grabbed seven boards, and blocked two shots for the Beacons. Kayce Mock of NCU hauled down a game-high nine rebounds.
Northwest Christian led 5-0 and zoomed out to a 14-4 advantage. McKinney scored the Beacons' first seven points. Willamette pulled within 14-9 on a basket by Ascuena-Mercil with 1:53 left in the first quarter, but the Beacons scored five of the next six points to take a 19-10 lead into the second quarter.
The Bearcats went on a 10-5 run to cut the margin to 24-20 following a field goal by Farmer with 6:33 remaining in the half. NW Christian scored seven unanswered points to extend the lead to 31-20. Willamette trailed 41-27 at the break.
Willamette outscored the Beacons 10-8 in the third quarter and 20-17 in the fourth quarter, but couldn't get closer than nine points until Hopkins cut the lead to 56-48 by sinking 1 of 2 free throws with 3:31 to go in the game. Slifka put through a 3-pointer for NCU to give the Beacons a 59-48 advantage at the 1:46 mark. Eleven seconds later, Slifka was fouled on a 3-point shot and made all three free throws for a 62-48 lead.
The Beacons shot 43.6% from the field (24 of 55), including 55.2% (16 of 29) in the first half. NCU shot 35.3% on 3-pointers, hitting 6 of 17 attempts. Willamette converted 31.1% of its shots (19 of 61), including 21.7% (5 of 23) from 3-point range. Each team grabbed 40 rebounds. The Bearcats forced the Beacons into 21 turnovers, while WU lost the ball 16 times.