By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
FOREST GROVE, Ore. -- Kylie Towry (Sr., G, Medford, OR/South Medford HS) scored a career-high 33 points -- just two points away from the Willamette University record -- and the Bearcats outscored Pacific University 25-16 in the fourth quarter on their way to an 80-65 victory over the Boxers on Friday, Feb. 9 at the Stoller Center. Willamette advanced its record to 13-9 overall and to 9-4 in the Northwest Conference. Pacific fell to 3-18 overall, 2-11 in the NWC.
"I am really proud of the way we played today," Willamette Head Coach Peg Swadener said. "We have been playing really well in the fourth quarters of games and it was fun to see us do that again today."
The Bearcats have clinched their first winning record in the regular season since 2000-01, when Willamette went 17-8 overall and 12-4 in the NWC. Willamette also has clinched an NWC Tournament berth -- the top four teams in the final regular season standings will qualify. The Bearcats are currently in third place, two games in front of Lewis & Clark College (7-6) and three games in front of University of Puget Sound (6-7) with three games remaining.
L&C and Puget Sound meet on the final day of the regular season, so Willamette can't fall behind both teams. L&C would be the team that missed the tournament in a three-way tie. One more win by the Bearcats would clinch third place for Willamette.
Towry connected on 11 of 23 field goals, including 4 of 12 from 3-point range. Her 23 field goal attempts tied her with three other Bearcats for the third-highest total all-time. Towry also hit 7 of 8 free throws, grabbed six rebounds, earned six assists and had three steals. She increased her Willamette career scoring record to 1,347 points and extended her career 3-point record to 281 baskets.
Willamette's record for points in a game was set on Feb. 5, 2000, when Tyan Sanderson scored 35 points against Lewis & Clark. Towry's 33 points are followed by three 32-point performances. Marisa Hamilton scored 32 against Pacific in 2014-15, while Kelly Sorenson (Ioane) tallied 32 against the College of Notre Dame in 1997-98 and against Eastern Oregon University in 2000-01.
In Friday's win, Towry was joined in double figures by Ashley Evans (Sr., PG, Canby, OR/Canby HS) and Britanny Kochenderfer (Jr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.). Evans scored 19 points and was 5 of 7 from the field -- all on 3-point attempts. She also went 4 for 4 at the free throw line. Kochenderfer achieved a double-double with 13 points and 11 rebounds, and also blocked two shots. Elizabeth Logsdon (So., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) chipped in with seven points.
Charli Elliott and Jenee Brown each scored 14 points for the Boxers. Elliott grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds, while Courtney Carolan supplied seven points and six boards. Lauren Lykens added eight points and three assists.
Willamette held a 55-49 lead at the end of the third quarter, but Pacific went on a 7-2 run to cut the margin to 57-56 with 7:32 left on a layup by Brown. The Bearcats never trailed, the rest of the way, although the Boxers were within four points at 61-57 after Elliott sank a free throw with 6:08 to go.
The Bearcats took charge with a 7-2 surge that gave them a 68-59 advantage at the 2:32 mark. Towry started the run with a 3-pointer. After Lykins made a layup for the Boxers, Logsdon put in a layup for WU. Towry completed the run with another layup.
Neither team scored again until Kochenderfer hit two free throws after being fouled with 1:39 remaining. Pacific scored next, but couldn't get closer than nine points. Towry drove to the basket for a layup with 1:02 on the clock to give Willamette a 72-62 lead. The Bearcats went 8 for 8 at the line in the final minute to secure the win.
Willamette shot 45.4% for the game (26 of 56), including 58.3% (7 of 12) in the fourth quarter. Meanwhile, the Bearcats limited Pacific to 38.1% shooting (24 of 63). The Boxers hit just 6 of 20 shots (30.0%) in the fourth quarter. Willamette was 10 of 26 (38.5%) from behind the 3-point arc, and the Bearcats sank 18 of 24 free throws (75.0%).
In the first eight minutes of the game, WU surged out to a 17-6 lead. Towry scored eight of the early points, including a pair of 3-point baskets. Kochenderfer added five points. Willamette led 19-10 at the end of the quarter.
The Bearcats owned a 25-15 advantage after Drew Farmer (So., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) scored on a layup with 6:06 left in the half. Pacific reduced the lead to 28-24 with a 9-3 run that ended with a jumper by Elliott. The Bearcats earned seven of the final 10 points of the half to grab a 35-27 halftime lead.
Pacific scored the first five points of the third quarter on a 3-point shot by Brown and a layup by Elliott to pull within 35-32. WU extended its lead to 48-36 at the 5:58 mark thanks to a trio of 3-pointers by Evans and four points from Kochenderfer. Pacific got as close as six points twice later in the quarter.
Willamette will take on Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Feb. 10 at Cone Field House. It will be Senior Night and the Bearcats will honor their six seniors prior to the game. Tipoff is set for 4 p.m. (PST).