Bearcats Hold Western Oregon to 30.3% Shooting, as Willamette Earns First Win of Season with 71-51 Victory

MONMOUTH, ORE. -- Willamette University earned its first win of the season on Friday, Dec. 8, as the Bearcats outscored Western Oregon University 41-24 in the second half to turn a three-point halftime lead into a 71-51 rout on the WOU campus. Willamette improved to 1-8 on the season. Western Oregon fell to 1-5.

The Bearcats held a 30-27 lead at halftime, before WOU scored the first basket of the second half to get within a single point. Willamette countered with an 18-2 run for a 48-31 lead with 11:54 remaining. Willamette completed the run with 14 consecutive points over a 5:07 span. Maggie Wilkens (So., G, Seattle, WA/Lakeside HS) put an exclamation point at the end of the run by hitting a 3-point basket.

Claire Carpenter of Western Oregon hit a 3-pointer with 11:10 left to pull the Wolves within 14 points at 48-34, but WOU never got closer the rest of the game. The Wolves shot just 30.3% on field goals during the game (20 of 66), including just 4 of 24 on three-point shots (16.7%). Willamette hit 46.4% from the field (26 of 56), including 53.6% (15 of 28) over the final 20 minutes. The Bearcats also achieved a 48-41 rebounding edge.

Rebekah Wells (Jr., G, Lynnwood, WA/Edmonds-Woodway HS) and Keilyn Fujioka (Fr., F, Kailuah, HI/Iolani HS) each scored 18 points for Willamette. Fujioka finished with a double-double, as she also grabbed a game-high 15 rebounds. Laura Payne (Jr., G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) reached double figures with 13 points, while contributing five rebounds and four assists.

In addition to scoring 18 points, Wells provided WU with a game-high six assists. Kari Woody (Sr., F, Boise, ID/Timberline HS) grabbed six rebounds. Wilkens chipped in seven points, three assists and five boards.

Western Oregon was led by Leada Berkey, who topped all players with 19 points. Berkey connected on 7 of 14 shots from two-point range, but made just 1 of 10 three-pointers (8 of 24 overall). She finished with a double-double, as she also provided the Wolves with 12 rebounds, three assists and three steals. No other Wolves reached double-digits in scoring, although Lori Seymour scored eight points. Jodee Wilson hauled down five rebounds.

Willamette led 8-5 and 12-7 early in the game, but WOU went on a 10-4 run to take a 17-16 advantage with 7:37 left in the half. WU eventually trailed 25-20, but scored 10 consecutive points to take a 30-25 lead with just 14 seconds remaining before halftime. The 10-0 run included six points by Wells. Carpenter scored the last basket of the first period for Western Oregon as time expired.

The Bearcats produced their best offensive output of the season, scoring more than 23 points above their average entering the game (47.5 points). WU surpassed its previous season high of 62 points at Corban College on Nov. 21 and also set a season high with its 46.4% field goal accuracy.

Willamette does not play again until after Christmas, when the Bearcats will travel to Atherton, Calif., for the Peninsula Hoops Classic, hosted by Menlo College on Dec. 29 and 30. The Bearcats will play Menlo on Friday, Dec. 29 at 7 p.m. (PST) and will take on California State University-East Bay on Saturday, Dec. 30 at 5 p,.m. (PST).