By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
THOUSAND, OAKS, Calif. -- Kali Vickery (Sr., G, Glide, OR/Glide HS) scored a game-high 12 points, tied for the team lead with nine rebounds, and sank 4 of 4 free throws in the final 31 seconds, to lead Willamette University to a 51-42 win against California Lutheran University on Wednesday, Nov. 21. Vickery's solid performance also included three assists and three steals.
Willamette led 34-17 at halftime, but the Royals pulled as close as 41-38 with 6:35 remaining. The Bearcats outscored CLU 10-3 the rest of the way. Willamette won its third game in a row to even the Bearcats' record at 3-3. It was WU's fourth game in six days. California Lutheran fell to 1-3.
"I am so proud of this team and the effort they have shown over the past two weeks," Willamette Head Coach Peg Swadener said. "We have improved so much in all aspects, and it was fun to see it come together in these past two games (WU won at Pomona-Pitzer 65-63 on Tuesday)."
The Bearcats connected on 59.1% of their shots in the first half (13 of 22), including 4 of 9 on 3-pointers (44.4%). Meanwhile, California Lutheran shot just 26.9% in the first half (7 of 26), while hitting only 1 of 13 attempts from 3-point range.
Willamette's strong shooting helped the Bearcats take a 16-6 lead in the first seven minutes of the game. Five players scored for WU during the run, including Amanda Carpenter (So., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS), who contributed seven points. The opening quarter ended with the Bearcats holding a 20-8 advantage after Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.) hit two free throws at the 1:19 mark and Vickery scored on a jumper with 39 seconds left.
At the start of the second quarter, Willamette added seven points to complete an 11-0 run with a 28-8 lead. Drew Farmer (Jr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) ended the run by hitting a 3-point basket with 7:24 remaining in the half. CLU scored on a jumper by Cameron Mallory and a layup from Jade Jordany to reduce the margin to 28-12. Later, the Royals pulled within 30-15 and 32-17. Willamette registered the last two points of the half on a jumper by Lucy Morrill (Jr./So., G, Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) with 11 seconds to play.
California Lutheran outscored the Bearcats 14-5 in the third quarter to get back in the game. A pair of free throws by Juzie Tangeman reduced the deficit to 36-26 at the 4:49 mark. Jordan added a jumper at 4:21 and two free throws at 2:57, as the Royals moved within 36-30. Kochenderfer stopped the momentum on a 3-pointer for Willamette with 2:38 left.
Early in the fourth quarter, a layup by Vickery provided WU with a 41-31 lead. The next seven points went to the Royals on a layup by Natalie Ruhl, a 3-pointer by Mallory and another layup from Ruhl. Willamette's lead was just three points, but Kochenderfer sank a jumper with 3:08 remaining. Tangeman countered with a successful jump shot with 2:25 to go. Kochenderfer tacked on another jumper for WU at the 2:05 mark for a 45-40 edge.
Vickery supplied two insurance points by hitting a pair of free throws with 31 seconds left. Grace Derksen of CLU, who was fouled while shooting a 3-pointer with 16 seconds to go, converted two of the three free throws, moving the Royals within 47-42. Vickery put through two free throw for the Bearcats at the 15-second mark, and Kochenderfer completed the scoring with two free throws four seconds later Farmer stole the ball from Derksen with nine seconds left.
Kochenderfer scored 11 points to join Vickery in double figures. Carpenter scored seven points to go with five boards. Farmer had a strong all-around game with five points, nine rebounds, three assists and two steals. The Bearcats shot 42.9% for the game (18 of 42) after slipping to 20.0% in the second half (5 of 20).
Jordan topped California Lutheran with nine points and hauled down five rebounds. Three Royals -- Tangeman, Ruhl and Derksen -- each finished with eight points. Mallory earned five points and five boards. Willamette held CLU to 28.0% shooting for the game (14 of 50), including 14.3% on 3-pointers (3 of 21). The Bearcats gained a 35-29 rebounding margin.
Willamette will return to action with the start of Northwest Conference play on Friday, Nov. 30, when the Bearcats will take on Whitworth University in Spokane, Washington. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
Britanny Kochenderfer gets credited with the Big Moment for
the second day in a row. This time it's for providing a key basket
each time California Lutheran pulled within three points during the
fourth quarter. After the Royals cut the lead to 41-38 with 6:35 to
play, Kochenderfer scored next on a jump shot with 3:08 left. CLU
added two points to get within 43-40 just 14 seconds later, but
Kochenderfer seized momentum with a jumper at the 2:05 mark.