Riggs Scores 10 Points, Grabs 7 Boards, but #12 Blues Down Bearcats, 74-54

Sami Riggs (Fy., G, La Verne, CA/Bonita HS)
Sami Riggs (Fy., G, La Verne, CA/Bonita HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Sami Riggs (Fy., G, La Verne, CA/Bonita HS) scored 10 points and hauled down seven rebounds for Willamette University, but Whitman College shot 43.9% from the field and hit 5 of 10 three-pointers, as the Blues defeated the Bearcats, 74-54, in a Northwest Conference game at Sherwood Center on Saturday, Jan. 11. Both teams began the day with undefeated records in conference action. The Blues, ranked #12 in the D3hoops.com Women's Top 25 Poll, improved to 12-1 overall, 4-0 in the NWC. Willamette ended the day at 9-4 on the season, 3-1 in the NWC.

Kassin Hopkins (Sr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College) of Willamette matched Riggs with 10 points. Hopkins also provided four rebounds and three assists. Amanda Carpenter (Jr., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) added eight points and three steals for the Bearcats.

Makana Stone topped the Blues with 19 points to go along with eight rebounds. Mady Burdett supplied 16 points, four boards and three assists. Kaelan Shamseldin followed with 10 points and four boards. Lily Gustafson of Whitman led all players with nine rebounds.

Drew Farmer (Sr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) of Willamette opened the scoring with a layup, but the Blues tallied the next 10 points. The final six points of the run were scored on a 3-pointer by Shamseldin and a 3-pointer from Burdett. Two free throws from Hopkins reduced Whtiman's lead to 10-4.

A bit later, the Blues extended the margin to 14-4 on a layup by Taylor Chambers with 3:31 left in the first quarter. WU answered with a 3-pointer by Hopkins with 3:03 on the clock. A 5-0 run by the Blues, ending with a 3-pointer by Chambers, increased the lead to 19-7. Whitman held a 24-12 advantage when the game entered the second quarter.

Riggs scored for WU on a 3-pointer, assisted by Hopkins, with 8:05 remaining in the half to reduce the margin to 26-17. The Blues responded with five unanswered points, but Hopkins stopped the run with a 3-pointer at the 6:26 mark to pull the Bearcats within 31-20. Whitman ended the half with a 12-4 run to grab a 43-24 halftime edge.

Whitman scored 10 of the first 12 points at the start of the second half to build a 53-26 lead with 6:51 to go in the third quarter. Natalie Whitesel earned all six of her points during the run, including a traditional three-point play to complete the offensive surge. Later in the quarter, WU cut the margin to 19 points on a pair of free throws by Farmer with 24 seconds left. A successful jump shot by Stone gave the Blues a 58-37 advantage after three quarters. The Bearcats outscored Whitman 17-16 over the final 10 minutes.

The Bearcats shot 33.3% for the game (17 of 51), and connected on just 7 of 26 combined attempts (26.9%) in the first and third quarters. Willamette was 6 of 17 from 3-point range (35.3%) and hit 14 of 21 free throws (66.7%). Whitman gained a 43-31 rebounding advantage.

Willamette will return to action on Friday, Jan. 17, with an NWC home game against Pacific Lutheran University. Game time at Cone Field House is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).