By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Sarah Curl scored 33 points, including 22 in the first half, to lead Pacific University to a 61-58 victory over Willamette University on Friday, Feb. 17 at Cone Field House. The Bearcats, who trailed 51-37 entering the final quarter, rallied to tie the game at 56-56 with 2:23 left, but the Boxers held off Willamette to earn the win.
Willamette seniors Kylie Towry (G, Medford, OR/South Medford HS) and Alex Wert (F, Spokane, WA/St. George's HS) each moved onto a career top 10 statistical list during the game. Towry, who led WU with 19 points, advanced her career total to 959, as she jumped into ninth place all-time for the Bearcats. Wert grabbed five rebounds and is now tied for 10th all-time at WU with 439 career boards.
In addition, Towry increased her Willamette record for 3-point baskets to 219 successful shots in her career. She was 4 for 8 from behind the arc on Friday, and is now third all-time at WU with 525 career 3-point attempts.
The Bearcats opened the fourth quarter with a 7-1 run to cut Pacific's lead to 52-44. Marisa Hamilton (Sr./Jr., F, Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS) started the run with a pair of free throws, and then Wert added a jump shot. After Nikki Gilbert hit 1 of 2 free throws for the Boxers, Towry completed the run with a traditional three-point play on a basket and a foul shot with 6:41 left.
A bit later, Willamette pulled within 54-50 on a 3-pointer by Hamilton with 5:19 on the clock. A layup by Wert with 4:28 to go, reduced the margin to two points.
Karli McHone sank a free throw for Pacific at the 3:56 mark, but Sarah Heinly (Fr., G, Bend, OR/Summit HS) scored on a layup with 3:31 remaining to cut the deficit to 55-54.
The Bearcats eventually tied the score at 56-56 on a pair of free throws by Hamilton with 2:23 left. The next four points went to the Boxers on a layup by Curl, followed by a layup from Lauren Lykins with 2:08 on the clock. Willamette reduced the lead to 60-58 on a layup by Towry with 1:12 to go.
Neither team scored again until Gilbert hit 1 of 2 free throws with five second remaining to give Pacific a 61-58 edge. Willamette called timeout and advanced the ball into the front court. Heinly missed on a 3-point attempt with two seconds left.
The game began with Curl scoring 16 points in the first quarter, as she connected on 7 of 9 field goals, including 2 of 3 from 3-point range. Pacific held a 20-10 advantage entering the second quarter.
Willamette went on a 7-2 run to reduce the Boxers' lead to 22-17. Towry concluded the run by hitting a 3-point basket with 8:03 remaining in the half. Pacific countered with a 6-2 run and held a 28-19 margin after Lykins put through a jump shot at the 4:40 mark.
Curl registered six points in the second quarter. Her 22 points during the first half helped the Boxers gain a 32-24 lead at the break.
WU pulled within 34-30 on a 3-pointer by Towry with 8:29 to go in the third quarter. Curl scored the next five points for the Boxers on a 3-pointer and a layup. Pacific owned a 42-32 advantage with 5:35 left.
Later, Willamette cut the margin to 44-37 on a 3-pointer by Ashley Evans (Jr., PG, Canby, OR/Canby HS) with 3:04 left. Pacific ended the quarter with a 7-0 run for a 51-37 lead.
Curl was the only Boxer to finish the game in double figures. Gilbert contributed nine points, while Lykins earned eight points. Charli Elliott grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds for Pacific. Curl hauled down nine boardsP
Towry was WU's lone double-digit scorer. Hamilton registered nine points and was credited with six rebounds. Wert, in addition to securing five rebounds, also tallied eight points. Towry matched Wert with five rebounds.
Drew Farmer (Fr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) recorded four points, four assists and three steals for the Bearcats. Evans added six points, and four assists.
Pacific shot 45.5% for the game (25 of 55), but hit just 3 od 12 field goals (25.0%) in the fourth quarter. For the game, the Boxers went 4 for 19 on 3-pointers (21.1%) and sank 7 of 14 free throws (50.0%). The Boxers achieved a 40-32 rebounding edge.
Willamette was successful on just 28.3% of its field goals in the first three quarters (13 of 46), but finished strong by hitting 7 of 14 field goals (50.0%) in the fourth quarter. WU shot 33.3% overall. The Bearcats made 7 of 27 three-pointers (25.9%) and hit 11 of 13 free throws (84.6%).
Prior to the game, Hamilton, Wert and Towry were honored as Willamette's three seniors.
The Bearcats will complete the season on Saturday, Feb. 18 with an NWC road game against Linfield College. Tipoff in McMinnville, Oregon, is slated for 4 p.m. (PST).