Written by Mark Colachico, Athletics Communications Writer
SALEM, Ore. - The Willamette University Bearcats connected on 11 straight shots to end the third quarter en route to scoring 29 points during the period in a wire-to-wire non-conference win over Multnomah University (Ore.), 76-43, on Monday evening Jan. 2 inside Cone Field House.
With the win, Willamette improves to 8-3 on the season. Meanwhile, Multnomah drops to 4-10.
The Bearcats were led by three players -- Madi Andresen (So., C, Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS/Clackamas CC), Marisa Hamilton (Sr./Jr., F, Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS), and Sarah Heinly (Fr., G, Bend, OR/Summit HS) -- in double figures. Andresen and Hamilton scored 14 points apiece, while Heinly tacked on 13 points.
Multnomah was led offensively by Miranda Schmillen with 10 points, while Lacie Kamper added nine ponits. Valerie Wakefield and Bethany George both contributed five points. On the boards, Erin Estabrook pulled down a game-high seven rebounds for the Lions, while Katherine Edmonds and Schmillen handed out a team-best two assists each.
The opening four minutes of the game were back and forth until Willamette broke a 6-6 tie with a 6-0 run over a span of 56 seconds on back-to-back three-pointers by Kylie Towry (Sr./Jr., G, Medford, OR/South Medford HS) and Ashley Evans (Jr., PG, Canby, OR/Canby HS). The Bearcats pushed their lead to nine points, 20-11, after a fast-break lay-in by Eckenrode with 1:47 remaining in the quarter. A buzzer-beating jumper by Multnomah's Kamper closed out the first quarter, as Willamette held a 22-16 advantage.
The second quarter saw Multnomah get within three points at 24-21, before Willamette used a 10-1 run over a span of five-plus minutes to pull ahead by 12 points, 34-22, on a three-pointer by Eckenrode with just under two minutes to play in the half. The Bearcats pushed their lead to 13 points, 37-24, at halftime after Towry hit a three-pointer for the final points of the opening 20 minutes of play.
Willamette began the second half by missing its first shot before going a perfect 11-for-11 over the final nine-plus minutes to extend its lead to 31 points, 66-35, at the end of the third quarter. Heinly scored eight of her 13 points in the third quarter, as the Bearcats shot a blistering 91.7% (11-for-12) from the field that included a 3-for-4 performance from behind the three-point line and a 4-for-5 showing at the free throw line.
During the final quarter Willamette's lead never dropped below 28 points, as the Bearcats slowly pushed it to a game-high 34 points, 76-42, on a lay-in by Elizabeth Logsdon (Fr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) with 30 seconds left. Willamette would settle for the 33-point victory, 76-43.
As a team, Willamette combined to shoot 30-for-58 (51.7%) from the field that included 9-of-22 (40.9%) from beyond the three-point arc. The Bearcats went 7-of-9 (77.8%) at the free throw line. On the other hand, Multnomah was a combined 15-for-46 (32.6%) from the field, 3-of-17 (17.6%) from long distance, and 10-of-16 (62.5%) at the charity stripe.
Willamette returns to Northwest Conference play this weekend beginning on Friday, January 6, at the University of Puget Sound with tip-off scheduled for 8:00 p.m. (PST) in Tacoma, Washington.