Bearcats put scare into GFU before losing, 59-49

NEWBERG — A 14-0 run during the final five minutes of the game enabled the George Fox University Bruins to pull away from the upset-minded Willamette University Bearcats for a 59-49 Northwest Conference women’s basketball victory Friday at the Wheeler Sports Center.

Both teams struggled to put the ball in the basket in the early stages of the game, with George Fox gradually building a 15-9 lead with 8:59 left in the half on a three-pointer by Emily Ruggles. The Bruins then went ice-cold, going scoreless for over 7 minutes while the Bearcats went on a 13-0 run for a 22-15 lead. Kellie Thomas finally broke the Bruin scoring drought with a trey at the 1:34 mark, but Willamette would not rattle and upped the lead to 29-19 at the half.

But the home team came out hot to start the second half, going on an 18-6 run in the first 8 1/2 minutes to go up 39-35 with 13:45 to play. But the Bearcats would not go quietly, Rosie Contri’s three-pointer at 5:23 giving the Bearcats a 46-45 lead.

From that moment on, however, the game belonged to the Bruins. Led by Kim Leith, who hit a short jumper and four free throws, the Bruins scored 14 unanswered points while holding the Bearcats scoreless until Simmie Muth hit a trey with three seconds left.

Muth scored 14 to lead the Bearcats, Deanna Lund had 12, and Contri tallied 10. Muth led Willamette on the boards with seven.

George Fox finished the season 15-10 overall, the 10th straight winning season for the Bruins, and in 4th place in the conference at 10-6. Willamette fell to 8-16 overall and 2-13 in the NWC, and will close out its season Saturday, hosting the University of Puget Sound at 6:00 p.m.