Willamette Battles Corban, but Warriors Win 49-42 in Exhibition for Bearcats

Madison Ballard (So., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS)
Madison Ballard (So., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore. -- Willamette University and Corban University entered halftime tied at 24-24, but the Warriors gained a 14-10 scoring edge in the third quarter and added the first four points of the fourth quarter, as they defeated the Bearcats, 49-42, at Cone Field House on Friday, Nov. 1. The contest was an exhibition game for Willamette and the season opener for the Warriors, now 1-0.

Corban competes in the NAIA and the Cascade Collegiate Conference. Willamette is a member of NCAA Division III and the Northwest Conference.

The Bearcats will begin their regular season schedule on Saturday, Nov. 9, with a game at Northwest Christian University. Game time in Eugene, Oregon, is set for 1 p.m. (PDT).

In Friday's game, Corban was paced by Jordan Woodvine, who led all players with 19 points, 12 rebounds and four assists. Kendra Murphy provided the Warriors with eight points and six boards. Bri Turner achieved six points and six rebounds.

First-year guard Sami Riggs (La Verne, CA/Bonita HS) topped Willamette's scoring chart with eight points. Two other first-year players, Ava Kitchin (F, Redmond, OR/Redmond HS) and Ashlyn Ascuena-Mercil (F, Boise, ID/Timberline HS) also supplied the Bearcats with strong performances. Kitchin tallied six points and led WU with nine rebounds, while Ascuena-Mercil scored six points and hauled down eight rebounds.

Madison Ballard (So., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS) added another six points and registered three assists for Willamette. She was 2 for 5 on 3-point shots. Amanda Carpenter (Jr., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) earned five points and four boards. Kassin Hopkins (Sr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College) finished with five rebounds.

Both teams played well on defense and struggled with shooting. Corban connected on 32.8% of its field goals (19 of 58), while Willamette shot 28.1% (16 of 57). From 3-point range, Willamette was 6 of 30 (20.0%). The Warriors did not hit a 3-pointer, as Corban ended the night 0 for 14 from long-range.

A 6-0 run by the Warriors early in the game created an 8-2 lead for the visitors. Woodvine hit a layup to complete the run with 4:44 on the clock. Willamette pulled within 10-9 at the 2:15 mark on a pair of free throws by Ascuena-Mercil. A bit later, WU tied the game at 12-12 on a free throw by Elizabeth Logsdon (Sr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS).

The Warriors scored the next four points. Ballard sank a 3-pointer for the Bearcats with six seconds to go that reduced the lead to 16-15 at the end of the quarter.

On basket each by Fallon Hanson and then Murphy increased Corban's lead to 20-15. Willamette tied the score at 20-20 on a 3-pointer by Riggs with 4:02 remaining in the half. After falling behind 24-20, the Bearcats earned the final four points of the half on a jumper by Avery Mickelsen (So., C, Ephrata, WA/Ephrata HS) and a jumper by Riggs to forge a 24-24 tie.

After each team added two points in the third quarter, the Warriors went on a 6-0 run to claim a 32-26 advantage. Woodvine scored the last four points of the run.

Morgan Yamane (So., Moses Lake, WA/Moses Lake HS) scored next for Willamette on a jump shot. Corban countered with six unanswered points for a 38-28 lead with 1:57 left in the quarter. The Bearcats tallied the next six points on a 3-point shot by Riggs at the 48-second mark and a 3-point basket by Ascuena-Mercil with one second to go, as Willamette reduced the margin to 38-34 entering the fourth quarter.

Neither team scored during the first two-and-a-half minutes of the final period. Woodvine broke the scoring drought on a layup with 7:24 remaining.

The Bearcats got as close as 44-40 on a jumper by Carpenter with 1:55 left. Over the next 1:19, Corban hit just 1 of 5 free throws, but kept Willamette from scoring, and the Warriors held a 45-40 lead with 36 seconds on the clock. Murphy sank two free throws for Corban with 27 seconds left and Woodvine tacked on two more with 14 seconds to go. Carpenter registered the final basket of the game for Willamette.