By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
SALEM, Ore. -- Britanny Kochenderfer (Jr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.) scored on a layup with 14.7 seconds left in overtime to send Willamette University to a 65-64 win over Northwest Conference rival University of Puget Sound on Saturday, Jan. 6 at Cone Field House. The win, Willamette's second consecutive triumph in overtime, moved the Bearcats to 7-6 on the season, 3-1 in the NWC. Puget Sound slipped to 6-7 overall, 1-3 in the NWC.
The Bearcats trailed 49-44 early in the fourth quarter, but rallied to force overtime. A layup by Jada Leonard (Fr., G, Kent, WA/Kentlake HS) of Willamette with 2.3 seconds left created a 58-58 tie. Follownig a timeout, Lange missed a layup while guarded by Leonard with one second left, and the game advanced into overtime.
Puget Sound scored the first four points of overtime for a 62-58 lead on a layup by Jamie Lange at the 3:56 mark and two free throws by Lange with 3:18 left. Willamette battled back with a 5-0 run, starting with a free throw by Leonard with 2:18 remaining. Leonard missed the second free throw and Puget Sound grabbed the rebound, but Claire Fitzgerald committed an offensive foul with 2:04 on the clock.
Drew Farmer (So., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) put in a running layup with 1:53 left to cut the margin to 62-61. After a turnover by the Loggers, Kochenderder scored on a jumper in the paint to give WU a 63-62 lead with 1:10 remaining.
A bit later, Lange grabbed an offensive rebound for the Loggers with 38 seconds left. Lange scored six seconds later on a layup, as Puget Sound took a 64-63 lead. Kochenderfer's game-winning layup completed Willamette's next possession.
Following a timeout, Elizabeth Prewitt attempted a layup for Puget Sound with 11 seconds left, but Kochenderfer blocked the shot and the ball went out of bounds. Meghan Hamel committed a turnover three seconds later, and Farmer was fouled with 5.4 seconds left. Farmer was unsuccessful on both free throws. Lange grabbed the rebound, but Puget Sound was out of timeouts, and the Loggers were unable to shoot before time expired.
"To be able to win back-to-back overtime games against tough conference opponents shows the improvement in our ability to finish games," Head Coach Peg Swadener said. "It was a true team win tonight. Puget Sound did a great job limiting Kylie's scoring, so we needed the rest of the team to step up. Fortunately, we were able to make the big plays when we needed them."
Willamette defeated Linfield College 76-70 on Wednesday, Jan. 3 to begin the pair of overtime wins. In that game, the Bearcats trailed by 14 points early in the fourth quarter, but forced a 66-66 tie and then outscored the Wildcats 10-4 in overtime.
Against Puget Sound, Kochenderfer was one of three Bearcats in double figures. She scored 15 points on 7-of-14 shooting. Kochenderfer also provided WU with seven rebounds, two blocked shots and a game-high three steals. Kylie Towry (Sr., G, Medford, OR/South Medford HS) tacked on 11 points, tied Kochenderfer with seven rebounds, and dished out three assists. Ashley Evans (Sr., PG, Canby, OR/Canby HS) also scored 11 points, including a 3-for-6 effort from behind the 3-point stripe. Mary Eckenrode (Sr., G, Higley, AZ/Highland HS) scored eight points for the Bearcats.
Lange, who now ranks first in the NWC with 16.9 points per game, led all players on Saturday with 28 points. She was 9 of 17 from the field and 10 of 12 at the free throw line. She also hauled down a game-high 14 boards. No one else reached double digits for the Loggers, although Cassidy Daugherty and Mara Henderson each contributed nine points, and Fitzgerald finished with eight. Henderson provided six rebounds.
The game was close for almost the entire 45 minutes. There were 14 ties and 13 lead changes.
In the first quarter there were four ties, including 9-9 with 2:21 left following a jumper by RaeAnn Allen of Puget Sound. Willamette moved in front on a jumper by Eckenrode 17 seconds later to start a 7-3 run. The Loggers cut the lead to a single point twice during the run, but a 3-point basket by Towry -- extending her school career record to 259 trifectas -- gave WU a 16-12 lead with 50 seconds to go. Lange hit two free throws for Puget Sound at the 21-second mark, before Kochenderfer tallied the final points of the quarter for the Bearcats on a jumper with nine second left.
Puget Sound began the second period with a 7-0 surge, starting with a layup by Daugherty. Prewitt added a jumper with 7:03 on the clock, and Fitzherald completed the run with a 3-pointer a minute later to give the Loggers a 21-18 lead. Willamette answered with a 3-pointer by Evans to tie the score with 4:40 left in the half. There were three more ties before Henderson gave Puget Sound a 29-27 lead on a jumper with one second remaining.
The Loggers took a 45-38 advantage -- the largest lead for either team during the game -- with 4:29 left in the third quarter on a 3-point basket by Henderson. Willamette pulled within two points at 46-44 on a layup from Farmer with 2:29 on the clock. Lange hit the 1 of 2 free throws for Puget Sound with 56 seconds to go, allowing the Loggers to take a 47-44 lead into the fourth quarter.
Lange provided the visitors with the next two points with 8:49 still to go in regulation. Willamette erased the five-point margin with a 7-2 run. Farmer cut the margin to two points on a jumper, and Kochenderfer scored on a layup for a 51-51 tie with 5:38 left. The Loggers led 55-51 a bit later, but the Bearcats held a 56-55 lead following a basket and foul shot by Towry at the 3:01 mark.
A layup by Lange with 1:45 remaining put Puget Sound in front by a single point. Prewitt sank only the second of two free throws with 8.3 seconds left to give Puget Sound a 58-56 lead. Willamette called timeout to advance the ball into the front court and set up Leonard's tying basket.
Willamette will play at Pacific Lutheran University on Friday, Jan. 12. Game time in Tacoma, Washington, is set for 6 p.m. (PST).