Scranton's Late Rally Takes Out Bearcats in Season Opener

PORTLAND, OR — For 35 minutes, the young Willamette University women's basketall team played the nation’s No. 2 team, Scranton, dead-even. But a 22-8 run to end the game had the Bearcats on the short end of a 71-59 loss in the season-opener for both teams at the Bon Appetit Classic Friday night.

A pair of free throws from freshman Brittany Farrer gave the Bearcats their last lead at 51-49 with 6:06 to play. But 39 seconds later, Allison Matt’s 3-pointer put Scranton on top to stay as they reeled of 12 straight points en route to the win.

The first half ended in a 32-32 tie and was close throughouot. After Scranton jumped on top 4-0, Farrer and Tracie Nygaard answered. Jennifer Bell gave Willamette its first lead at 6-4, but a 3-pointer from Julie Brophy put Scranton back on top.

Willamette tok a 17-13 on Caitlin Andrus’ 3-pointer, before Bell gave the Bearcats their biggest lead at 20-15 with another three. The teams traded baskets until Vic Swigart’s two free throws sent the teams to the locker room deadlocked at 32-all.

The second half was more of the same, with no more than four points separating the two teams until the late Scranton run.

Bell led the Bearcats with 11 points. Nygaard added 10 points and five rebounds. Farrer led Willamette with seven boards and chipped in with six points. Andrus, Swigart, Sara Brooks and Laura Payne each had eight points for Willamette.

The Bearcts out-rebounded Scranton 36-28. But Scranton shot 47% from the floor to 38% for Willamette. Matt led Scranton with 22 points.

Willamette plays again at the Classic in Portland Saturday night, taking on Smith College at 6 p.m.