Puget Sound, Ranked #18, Defeats Bearcats in High-Scoring Game, 95-82

Marisa Hamilton (Sr./Jr., F, Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS)
Marisa Hamilton (Sr./Jr., F, Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

TACOMA, Wash. -- In a high-scoring Northwest Conference women's basketball game, the University of Puget Sound, ranked #18 in the D3hoops.com Top 25, held off Willamette University, 95-82 on Friday, Jan. 6 at Memorial Fieldhouse.

Puget Sound upped its record to 11-1 on the season, 3-0 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 8-4 overall, 1-2 in the NWC. All four of Willamette's losses have been to teams that are currently ranked nationally in NCAA Division III or NAIA Division I.

Samone Jackson led Puget Sound with 20 points. All five starters for the Loggers finished in double figures. Jackson was followed by Elizabeth Prewitt with 17 points and Alex Noren with 16 points. Claire Fitzgerald and Caitlin Malvar each tallied 12 points.

Meghan Hamel supplied the Loggers with a game-high nine rebounds. Prewitt was credited with seven rebounds, while Navar led all players with eight assists.

Willamette also had five players who earned double-digit scoring totals. Marisa Hamilton (Sr./Jr., F, Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS) topped the Bearcats with 15 points. Ashley Evans (Jr., PG, Canby, OR/Canby HS) and Kylie Towry (Sr./Jr., G, Medford, OR/South Medford HS) each contributed 12 points.

Alex Wert (Sr., F, Spokane, WA/St. George's HS) and Madi Andresen (So., C, Forest Grove, OR/Forest Grove HS/Clackamas CC) both finished with 10 points. Wert led Willamette with seven rebounds, while Hamilton grabbed five boards. Towry provided six assists.

Puget Sound built a 28-15 lead in the first quarter, but led just 44-38 at halftime and held a 65-58 margin after three quarters.

Willamette pulled within 75-71 with 4:49 remaining in the fourth quarter on a pair of free throws by Evans, but the Loggers ended the game with a 20-11 run.

The first quarter began with a basket by Puget Sound, before Evans answered with a 3-pointer for the Bearcats. The next eight points went to the Loggers as they took a 10-3 lead with 7:35 left.

Evans responded with another 3-pointer for WU, but the Bearcats were unable to get closer, as Puget Sound increased its lead to 16-6.

Andresen added a layup for the Bearcats to reduce the lead to eight points. The Loggers followed with a 9-0 run, giving the hosts a 25-8 advantage at the 2:18 mark. Alexis Noren tallied five points during the run.

Willamette cut the margin to six points on several occasions in the second quarter, starting at 36-30 following a 3-pointer by Towry with 3:16 to go. WU got within six points two more times before the Loggers claimed a 44-36 lead on two free throws by Prewitt with 25 seconds left. The Bearcats reduced the margin to six points one more time when Wert scored the final basket of the half with 14 seconds remaining.

The first four points of the second half were recorded by Prewitt of Puget Sound. The Loggers later owned a 55-45 advantage on a 3-pointer by Jackson at the 6:35 mark. Willamette rallied to within 55-52 by scoring seven unanswered points. Hamilton began the run with a jumper and ended it with a 3-point shot.

Puget Sound concluded the third quarter with a 10-6 run to take a seven-point edge into the final quarter. Andresen scored on a layup for WU with 9:37 remaining to cut the lead to 65-60, but the Loggers built a nine-point margin three times between the 8:06 mark and 6:31 remaining.

The Bearcats put together a 5-0 run to get within striking distance. Towry started the run with a 3-pointer as the clock reached 6:06 to reduce the deficit to 75-69. Evans added two free throws with 4:49 left.

A layup by Noren gave Puget Sound a 77-71 lead. Mikaela Limper tacked on 1 of 2 free throws with 3:49 remaining, as the Loggers stretched their advantage to 78-71. Andresen put in 1 of 2 free throws to get the Bearcats within 78-72 with 3:10 to go, but Willamette was unable to get closer the rest of the way.

Both teams shot well from the field, with Puget Sound finishing at 63.7% (36 of 67) and Willamette connecting on 45.9% of its attempts (28 of 61). WU converted 11 of 29 three-point shots (37.9%), while Puget Sound was 4 for 14 from 3-point range (28.6%).

The Loggers attained a 40-31 rebounding edge. Turnovers were nearly even, with 12 by the Bearcats and 11 by Puget Sound.

Willamette will battle Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Jan. 7 in Parkland, Washington. Tipoff is scheduled for 4 p.m. (PST).