Kip's CORNER: INSIDE BEARCAT HOOP

Last Week
Willamette’s inconsistency again cost the Bearcats, as rival Linfield down WU in Salem, 76-70. Despite the efforts of NWC Player of the Week John Olinger (25 points) and Todd Lewis (10 pts, 16 rebounds), WU could not overcome Blake Shelton’s game-high 29 pts, as Linfield completed its first sweep of WU since 2001. Wing Michael Plank added another solid effort off the bench (10 pts, 3 rebounds) and senior Harold Sublett, Jr. added 8 rebounds in he and Lewis’ home finale. WU had the rest of the week off due to a schedule that had seen them play 5 games in 7 days.

This Week
WU will close the 2004-2005 campaign with 3 games on the road in the state of Washington. The Bearcats battle PLU on Tuesday, the 22nd, in a makeup game at 7 pm (the original contest was scratched due to a power failure on the PLU campus). Friday and Saturday mark the traditional Whitman/Whitworth road trip, where Willamette will look to revenge a rare sweep at home at the hands of the Eastern Washington schools. WU is currently 9-13 (6-7) on the year, a game out of 3rd place in the NWC.

A Look at the Opponents
Pacific Lutheran Lutes (5-17, 3-9): Coach Dave Harshman’s team is coming off a weekend of home defeats at the hands of Linfield and George Fox. The Lutes, whom the Bearcats defeated 82-44 earlier in the year in Salem, have been paced on the year by Kurt Oliver (11 ppg) and Drew Cardwell (10 ppg).

Whitman Missionaries (5-18, 3-11): The Missionaries and Coach Skip Molitor defeated Willamette in Salem in late February behind 25 pts and 17 rebounds from Kyle Born. Matt Kelly (16 ppg) and Erik Kofler (12) have been the leaders of the Whitman attack all season.

Whitworth Pirates (11-11, 7-7): Rival Whitworth and Coach Jim Hayford are currently riding a 3-game winning streak, and defeated WU earlier in the year at Cone Fieldhouse. The Pirates and Bearcats have developed an intriguing rivalry since Hayford’s arrival, with each team consistently winning on the other’s home floor (snapping 19 game home win streaks by each school). The Pirates rely on Jon Young (15 ppg) and Lance Pecht (15 ppg), as well as the gamesmanship of point guard Bryan Williams.


A Closer Look at the Bearcats
-With the home loss to Linfield, WU completed its home schedule with 6 home losses. WU had been 29-2 at home the past 3 seasons combined.

-WU will finish the season under .500 for the 1st time in 5 seasons.

-Co-captain John Olinger has been scorching hot his past 4 games, exploding for 100 points in the 4 contests.

-WU continues to lead the NWC in Rebounding Margin and Assist to Turnover Ratio. The Bearcats are 2nd in Scoring Defense and Assists.