Written by Mark Colachico, Willamette Athletic Communications Writer
PORTLAND, Ore. - In its final exhibition game of the season, Willamette University's women's basketball team scored the game's opening five points and were within three points on several occasions, before the University of Portland pulled away in the second quarter for an 11-point halftime lead. The Pilots built their lead to double digits early in the second half en route to earning a 72-52 victory over the Bearcats on Sunday, Nov. 12, inside the Chiles Center.
The game counted in the win-loss column for Portland, as the Pilots improved to 2-0 on the season. Meanwhile, Willamette did not suffer a setback in its overall record as the Bearcats prepare to open the regular season on Friday, Nov. 17, against Trinity University (Texas) at the Bruin Classic in Newberg, Oregon. Willamette and Trinity are scheduled to play at 4 p.m. (PST).
Kylie Towry (G, Sr., 5-8, Medford, OR/South Medford HS) and Britanny Kochenderfer (G, Jr., 5-10, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS) led the Bearcats with 11 points each, while Elizabeth Logsdon (F, So., 6-1, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) and Mary Eckenrode (G, Sr., 5-7, Higley, AZ/Highland HS) tallied nine and eight points, respectively. Celine Gregoire (P, Jr., 6-2, Woodburn, OR/Woodburn Academy) led Willamette with seven rebounds, while Ashley Evans (PG, Sr., 5-4, Canby, OR/Canby HS) dished out a team-leading five assists.
"I was really pleased with the effort tonight," Willamette Head Coach Peg Swadener said. "We went into the game knowing we had some match-up problems, but these games are great to help prepare us for what we will see later in the season. I thought our posts fought hard and our guards were able to execute some of the things we've been developing in practice. I am encouraged with where we are and the direction we are headed."
Kochenderfer accounted for the opening five points via a three-pointer at the 8:27 mark followed by a jumper with 7:41 on the clock. Over the next two minutes, Portland rattled off five unanswered points to tie the game, before Logsdon knocked down a shot from long distance to put the Bearcats ahead 8-5 with 5:25 remaining in the opening quarter. The teams battle back and forth over the next two minutes, resulting in an 11-11 tie. Portland closed out the first quarter on a 6-2 run to earn a 17-13 lead at the first break.
The second quarter began with Portland jumping out to a 26-17 lead over the opening three minutes, but Willamette used a 9-3 run over the next three minutes to pull within three points at 29-26 following another three-pointer by Kochenderfer with 4:22 on the clock. Unfortunately, that was as close as Willamette would get, as Portland ended the first half on a 10-2 run to secure a 39-28 lead.
Portland continuer to hold a double-digit lead for the remainder of the game. Willamette pulled back within 11 points, 49-38, on a Towry 3-pointer with 4:51 left in the third quarter.
The host Pilots earned a game-high 23-point lead at 70-47 with 5:46 left in the fourth game, before the Bearcats concluded the game on a 5-2 run for the final margin of 72-52.
Lisa-Marie Kaempf led all scorers with 19 points for Portland, as she went 6 for 7 from the field and 6 for 7 at the free throw line. Kate Andersen added 13 points for the Pilots, to go along with nine points from Julie Spencer. Sara Zaragoza pulled down a game-high eight rebounds for Portland, while Rachelle Owens dished out a game-high six assists for the Pilots.
As a team, Willamette shot 16 for 54 (29.6%) from the field to go along with a 10-for-32 (31.3%) showing from beyond the 3-point line and a 10-for-13 (76.9%) clip at the free throw line. Meanwhile, Portland was a combined 25 for 57 (43.9%) from the field, 3 for 13 (23.1%) from long distance, and 19 for 28 (67.9%) at the charity stripe.
Willamette will return to the hardwood in less than a week, as the Bearcats take part in the Bruin Classic hosted by George Fox University in Newberg, Oregon. After playing Trinity on Friday, the Bearcats will take on Southwestern University (Texas) at 4 p.m. (PST) on Saturday, Nov. 18.