By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications, (503) 370-6110
SPOKANE, Wash. -- Willamette University put together a strong comeback after trailing by 14 points with 5:41 left in the fourth quarter, and pulled within three points twice in the final minute, but Whitworth University held off the Bearcats, 74-69, on Friday, Nov. 30 in the Northwest Conference women's basketball opener for both teams. The Pirates made 4 of 6 free throws in the final 32 seconds to improve to 4-1 on the season, 1-0 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 3-4 overall, 0-1 in the NWC.
The Bearcats, who trailed 36-30 at halftime, were within a single point at 45-44 with 1:47 to go in the third quarter. Whitworth ended the quarter with a 6-0 run to take a seven-point lead into the final period. The Pirates tallied the first five points of the fourth quarter and later grabbed a 64-50 lead on a layup by Camy Aguinaldo.
Willamette, which has shown a great ability to battle during games, didn't stop after Whitworth's 19-6 run. Instead, the Bearcats started a 17-6 run of their own with a 3-pointer by Amanda Carpenter (So., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS). Kassin Hopkins (Jr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College) added two free throws with 3:49 remaining.
The teams exchanged the next four baskets. Willamette's two scores were 3-pointers by Hopkins and Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, OR/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.), as the Bearcats moved within 68-61 with 2:18 left.
Jordan Smith hit a layup to give Whitworth a 70-61 margin at the 1:49 mark, but Drew Farmer (Jr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) sank a jump shot for Willamette with 1:23 to play. Elizabeth Logsdon (Jr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) converted 1 of 2 free throws with 43 seconds to go, and Kochenderfer drilled 3-pointer with 39 seconds left, as the Pirates' lead dwindled to three points at 70-67.
Madison Moffat connected on two free throws with 32 seconds on the clock, as Whitworth claimed a 72-67 edge. Farmer countered with two free throws at the 26-second mark, pulling Willamette back within three points.
Aguinaldo made 1 of 2 free throws for the Pirates one second later for a 73-69 lead. Hopkins missed a 3-point shot with 18 seconds remaining and Madison Ballard (Fr., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS) missed a trifecta with nine seconds left. Willamette hauled down both rebounds, but an offensive foul following the second board gave Whitworth the ball. Aguinaldo hit 1 of 2 free throws with two seconds to play.
Smith of Whitworth led all players with 24 points and was 9 of 18 shooting. Aguinaldo provided 13 points, five rebounds, seven assists and three steals, while Moffat contributed 10 points, seven boards and three steals. Aimee Smith also grabbed seven boards for the Pirates, who finished with a 41-35 rebounding edge, including 18-16 on the offensive glass.
Farmer ended the evening with 15 points for the Bearcats. She was 6 of 12 from the field and 3 for 3 at the line. Farmer also supplied five assists and three rebounds. Kochenderfer earned her fifth double-double with 11 points and 16 rebounds to go with two blocks. She scored nine points in the fourth quarter on three 3-pointers. Hopkins achieved nine points.
Whitworth shot 43.5% from the field (27 of 62). In the fourth quarter, the Pirates sank 8 of 13 field goals (61.5%) and hit 7 of 9 free throws (77.8%) to offset Willamette's six three-pointers in the final 8:25. Whitworth went 5 of 14 (35.7%) from 3-point range during the game. Willamette hit 24 of 61 field goals (39.3%), including 11 of 32 on 3-point shots (34.4%).
The Pirates opened the game with a 14-2 run, including 11 points by Jordan Smith and three points from Aguinaldo. The Bearcats countered with a 10-4 run to get within 18-12 on a layup by Farmer with 1:11 left in the quarter. Lexi Tinney sank a jumper with seven seconds on the clock to give Whitworth a 20-12 advantage after 10 minutes.
Willamette reduced Whitworth's margin to four points at 32-28 on a 3-pointer by Ballard with 2:05 to go in the half. A bit later, Logsdon brought the Bearcats within 34-30 on a jumper at the 1:07 mark. Moffat scored the final basket of the half for the Pirates.
A 3-pointer by Kali Vickery (Sr., G, Glide, OR/Glide HS) to start the third quarter pulled Willamette as close as 36-33, but Whitworth recorded the next five points. Later in the quarter, Farmer converted a traditional three-point play for Willamette to cut the lead to 45-44.
The Bearcats will take on Whitman College in Walla Walla, Washington, on Saturday, Dec. 1. Game time is set for 4 p.m. (PST).
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
Britanny Kochenderfer pulled Willamette within three points
at 70-67 on a 3-point basket with 39 seconds remaining.
It was Kochenderfer's third 3-pointer in the fourth quarter
and it completed a 17-4 run by the Bearcats.