Ballard Scores 15 Points as Bearcats Improve to 5-2 with 59-47 Win at Caltech

Madison Ballard (So., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS)
Madison Ballard (So., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

PASADENA, Calif. -- Madison Ballard (So., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS) tied a career high with 15 points, and Willamette University outscored California Institute of Technology 23-13 in the fourth quarter, as the Bearcats defeated the Beavers, 59-47, on Wednesday, Nov. 27 at the Braun Athletic Center. Willamette advanced its record to 5-2 on the season, while Caltech fell to 0-4.

The Bearcats held a 36-34 advantage at the end of the third quarter. Willamette then opened the final stanza with a 5-2 run for a 41-36 lead on a 3-pointer by Ballard with 7:57 left. Neither team scored for nearly two minutes after Ballard's trifecta. Ava Kitchin (Fy., F, Redmond, OR/Redmond HS) blocked a layup and grabbed the rebound with 6:39 to go to keep the five-point lead intact.

On Caltech's next possession, Sami Riggs (Fy., G, La Verne, CA/Bonita HS) of Willamette forced a turnover and scored on a fast-break layup at the 6:03 mark to increase the margin to 43-36. Kitchin added a layup with 5:24 to go, and Grace Peng put through a layup for the Beavers with 4:30 remaining. Willamette scored again 11 seconds later on a 3-pointer by Ballard that increased the Bearcats' lead to 48-38.

The Beavers pulled within 50-44 on a 3-pointer by Faith Pinney with 2:48 left. Willamette tallied the next six points on a layup by Riggs, a jumper by Kitchin, and a layup from Drew Farmer (Sr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) to gain a 56-44 lead. Peng hit a 3-pointer for Caltech to cut the margin to nine-points with 1:00 remaining, but Ballard sank her third 3-pointer for the game's final points with 44 seconds on the clock.

Ballard connected on 5 of 9 field goals, including 3 of 6 three-point shots. She was joined in double figures by Kassin Hopkins (Sr., G, Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College), who scored 11 points for Willamette and led the Bearcats with seven rebounds. Amanda Carpenter (Jr., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) chipped in eight points, six boards and two steals.

Kitchin was credited with eight points, four rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals for the Bearcats. Farmer achieved five rebounds and a game-high seven assists.

Peng and Sahana Saikumar combined to score 33 of Caltech's 47 points. Peng led the way with 17 points, while also supplying the Beavers with four rebounds, three assists and two steals. Saikumar finished with 16 points and nine rebounds. Peng scored three of Caltech's four 3-point baskets. Alexa Lauinger topped both teams with 10 rebounds.

Willamette claimed a 35-30 rebounding margin on the strength of seven Bearcats with three or more boards. The Bearcats shot 45.5% from the field (25 of 55), including a combined 60.0% in the second and fourth quarters (18 of 30). WU went 6 of 18 on 3-point shots (33.3%). The Bearcats limited Caltech to 34.7% shooting (17 of 49), including just 26.7% (4 of 15) in the fourth quarter. The Beavers converted 4 of 11 three-pointers (36.4%) during the game.

A 3-pointer from Hopkins and a layup by Elizabeth Logsdon (Sr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) gave Willamette a 5-0 lead early in the first quarter. Caltech tied the game at 6-6 with a 6-1 run on two jumpers by Saikumar and a layup by Pinney with 4:11 left in the period. The next basket was scored by Morgan Yamane (So., Moses Lake, WA/Moses Lake HS) of Willamette, who tacked on a jump shot with 19 seconds to go for an 8-6 lead.

The Beavers scored the first three points of the second quarter to grab a 9-8 advantage. Saikumar scored all three points -- on a jumper at the 9:46 mark plus a free throw with 9:17 to play in the half. Willamette responded with a key 11-0 run for a 19-9 lead. The run started with jumpers by Ballard and Logdson, and also featured a 3-pointer by Carpenter, a jumper by Lucy Morrill (Jr./So., G, Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS), and a layup by Hopkins.

Caltetch answered with a 6-0 run, ending with a jumper by Saikumar as the clock reached 3:05, to reduce WU's margin to 19-15. The Bearcats regained a double-digit lead at 26-15 on a layup by Carpenter with 1:55 remaining. Wilamette held 28-20 edge at halftime.

The Bearcats will play again on Friday, Nov. 29, when they are scheduled to battle Whittier College. Game time is set for 12 p.m. (PST) in Whittier, California.