Bearcats Hand UPS Its First Loss of Season; 68-54 Win Breaks Bearcats 21-game NWC Losing Streak

SALEM, OR — Vanessa Wyffels scored 21 points, Laura Payne had 13 and Julia Short added 12 as the Willamette University women’s basketball team handed the nationally-ranked University of Puget Sound its first loss of the season, 68-54, in a Northwest Conference game Saturday night at the Cone Field House.

It was the Bearcats first conference win in 22 games. The Bearcats are now 4-7 on the season, 1-1 in the NWC. UPS falls to 10-1 overall and 1-1 NWC.

Wyffels, who leads the nation in field goal percents at 79%, was 7-8 from the field and 7-8 from the foul line. She added a team-high nine rebounds and six assists as the Bearcats used a 13-0 run in the second half to key the victory.

The Bearcats took a one-point halftime lead, 28-27 on a last-second 3-point shot by Laura Payne.

In the deciding second half run, the Bearcats used three steals and turned them into points. Wyffels started the run with a jumper, then a foul shot. Then she fed Sara Clawson for a jumper.

Clawson then stole the ball and hit a pair of free throws to push the lead to 52-42. Julia Short had another steal and fed Wyffels for a hoop. Point guard Roni Schneider (8 points, 3 assists, 3 rebounds) grabbed another steal, this time feeding Short for a lay-up and a 58-42 lead.

UPS got to within eight at 58-46 with 5:32 remaining. But a pair of Short free throws and a Payne jumper kept the Bearcats comfortably ahead.

Angie Straw led UPS with 23 points and seven rebounds. Lindsay May added 20 points and 12 boards. Sarah Carnahan had five assists.

Both teams had 36 rebounds in the game. The Bearcats shot 47% in the game while UPS managed just 35%.

The Bearcats entertain Lewis & Clark Tuesday night in another Northwest Conference game. Tip-off is 6 p.m.