By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications
LAS VEGAS, Nev. -- Kassin Hopkins (Jr., G, Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College) scored a career-high 21 points, while hitting four 3-pointers and converting 9 of 12 free throws, to lead Willamette University to a 70-66 victory over University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point in the first game of the D3hoops.com Classic on Thursday, Dec. 27 at South Point Hotel and Casino. Willamette ended the game at 4-6, while UW-Stevens Point fell to 4-6.
The game featured eight ties and 16 lead changes over the first three quarters of play. Willamette moved in front for the final time late in the third period and kept the lead the rest of the way.
A 3-pointer by Britanny Kochenderfer (Sr., G, Klamath Falls, Oregon/Henley HS/Idaho State Univ.) with 1:44 left in the third quarter gave the Bearcats a 45-42 advantage. Later, with only six seconds to go in the quarter, Elizabeth Logdsdon (Jr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) put through a layup to provide WU with a 49-44 lead entering the game's final 10 minutes.
Willamette owned a 57-50 advantage with 4:02 remaining in the game after Lucy Morrill (Jr./So., G, Seattle, WA/Roosevelt HS) drilled a 3-point shot. The Pointers pulled within 57-54 on a layup by Amber Baehman with 3:12 to go, but Kellan Schmidt missed a layup for UWSP at the 2:06 mark that would have reduced the margin to a single point.
Kochenderfer tacked on two free throws for WU as the clock reached 1:59, and Hopkins added a 3-pointer with 1:22 left, as the Bearcats took a 62-54 lead. UW-Stevens Points got as close as 65-62 on two free throws by Schmidt with 25 seconds remaining, but the Pointers never got closer as Willamette sank 5 of 8 free throws in the final 23 seconds.
The previous scoring high for Hopkins at Willamette was 12 points against Claremont-Mudd-Scripps (Calif.) on Nov. 16. Against UW-Stevens Point, Hopkins not only scored 21 points, but also earned three assists and two steals. She was joined in double figures by Kochenderfer with 14 points and by Amanda Carpenter (So., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) with 10 points. Kochenderfer led the Bearcats with nine rebounds, six assists and four blocked shots.
Also for WU, Morgan Yamane (Fr., F, Moses Lake, WA/Mose Lake HS) recorded seven points and four rebounds. Logsdon finished with six points and six boards, while Kali Vickery (Sr., G, Glide, OR/Glide HS) blocked two shots. Willamette achieved an 8-1 advantage in total blocks.
UW-Stevens Point received a double-double from Baehman, who scored 15 points and hauled down 12 rebounds. She also produced two steals and one assist. Carley Cerrato also scored 15 points to go along with three rebounds and two steals. Brooke Geier tallied 12 points and six boards. Schmidt was credited with six points and six rebounds.
Kochenderfer scored for the Bearcats on a layup just five seconds after the opening tip. Logsdon added a layup 39 seconds later, allowing WU to grab a quick 4-0 lead. The Pointers countered with an 8-0 run that ended with a 3-pointer by Carrato at the 7:57 mark. A bit later, Willamette claimed a 10-8 margin on a 3-pointer by Hopkins. UWSP used an 8-2 run ending with a layup by Schmidt to surge in front 16-12 with 2:36 on the clock.
WU ended the first quarter with a 7-0 run. Hopkins completed the period on a 3-pointer with 29 seconds left, as the Bearcats moved in front, 19-16.
The Bearcats held a 22-18 advantage after Kochenderfer sank a 3-pointer with 7:25 remaining in the half. UW-Stevens Point eventually gained a 27-25 lead on a 3-pointer by Geier with 3:17 to go. Morgan Ballard (Fr., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS) scored the next five points for Willamette, helping the Bearcats take a 30-28 edge into halftime.
There were two ties and eight lead changes in the third quarter, with Willamette outscoring the Pointers 19-16. Baehman started the back-and-forth action by hitting a 3-pointer for the first basket of the second half, giving the Pointers a 31-30 lead. WU led 37-36 following a 3-pointer by Carpenter with 5:58 left in the quarter, but Stevens Point owned a 40-37 lead less than two minutes later on two free throws by Geier.
A basket by Hopkins and a 3-pointer from Kochenderfer put the Bearcats ahead 42-40, before Schmidt tied the score with two free throws at the 2:09 mark. Kochenderfer's 3-pointer 25 seconds later gave WU the lead for good with more than a quarter remaining.
For the game, WU shot 42.0% (21 of 50), including 10 of 24 (41.7%) from 3-point range. It was the third time the Bearcats have scored 10 or more 3-pointers in a game this season. Willamette was 18 of 27 (66.7%) at the free throw line. UW-Stevens Point was 22 of 62 from the field (35.5%), but hit only 4 of 16 shot from behind the 3-point line. The Pointers converted 18 fo 19 free throws for an impressive 94.7% and owned a 39-39 rebounding margin, but couldn't offset Willamette edge in 3-point shooting.
The Bearcats will take on Ohio Northern University in the second round of the D3hoops.com Classic on Friday, Dec. 28 at the South Point Hotel and Casino. Game time is set for 2 p.m. (PST).
Big Moment of the Game for Willamette
Britanny Kochenderfer sank a pair of key 3-pointers late in
the third quarter to give Willamette the lead for good. First,
she hit a 3-point shot with 2:31 on the clock to give the
Bearcats a 42-40 lead. Then, with the score tied, she added
another 3-pointer with 1:44 left in the quarter to provide
Willamette with a 45-42 advantage. Kochenderfer leads WU
with 13.5 points and 11.4 rebounds per game this season.