Kip's Corner: Inside Bearcat Hoop
WU dropped a 77-63 road contest to rival Linfield College in McMinnville Friday night. Falling behind early, the Bearcats briefly took the lead behind strong performances from Henry Greeley and Todd Lewis, only to see Linfield take command down the stretch and pull away for the NWC victory. Now 5-8 overall and 2-2 in league play, WU will have to improve its board play (losing the battle of the glass 41-22 on Friday) if it hopes to make a run in the NWC.
Mother Nature reeked havoc with the Bearcats’ schedule, as freezing rain forced the postponement of last Saturday’s game at Pacific until this Wednesday evening. Coupled with Tuesday’s home game vs. 1st place George Fox University, the Bearcats play one of their most difficult stretches of the season early this week.
About the Opponents:
George Fox Bruins (8-4, 3-0)
Coach Mark Sundquist has turned around Bruin basketball, as this year’s team has already surpassed last season’s win total of 7. Behind the strong performances of Mark Gayman (16 ppg) and Aaron Schmick (16 ppg), George Fox is once again a contender in the NWC. WU has swept the Bruins the last two seasons.
Pacific Boxers (1-9, 0-2)
The Boxers remain a difficult team to contend with at home, despite their sub par record to date. Coach Ken Schumann’s team nearly pulled off an upset of #6 UPS, and have been paced on the season by guards Branden Kawazoe (11 ppg) and Brad Krichevsky (10 ppg). Pacific has dropped 3 out of the last 4 meetings with the Bearcats.
A Closer Look at the Bearcats:
-Willamette’s loss to Linfield Friday was WU’s 2nd loss in NWC play. Willamette has not had 2 league losses this early since the 2000-2001 season.
-5 different Bearcats have now led the team in scoring during the season.
-5 different Bearcats are averaging at least 8 ppg.
-WU leads the NWC in Scoring Defense, Assist to Turnover Ratio, and Assists overall.
-Graduate student Todd Lewis was named Honorable Mention NWC Player of the Week, joining Drew Miller, John Olinger, and CJ Stuvland as Bearcats who have earned the honor during the week.