Corban Closes First Half Strong in 74-53 Win over Willamette

SALEM, ORE. -- Corban College held a 19-16 lead over Willamette University with 8:33 left in the first half, but scored the next 15 points on its way to a 25-2 run, as the Warriors took a huge halftime lead on their way to a 74-53 victory over the Bearcats. Willamette outscored the Warriors 35-33 in the second half, but never got closer than 17 points. Corban improved to 6-4 overall, while the Bearcats, playing their first home game of the season, dropped to 0-8.

Willamette point guard Sara Brooks (Sr., Ranier, OR/Ranier HS), playing in her second game of the season after recovering from an injury, provided the Bearcats with eight assists and four rebounds. The ‘Cats also received 11 points and seven boards from Tracie Nygaard (Jr,. F, Knappa, OR/Knappa HS), plus 10 points and nine rebounds from Keilyn Fujioka (Fr., F, Kailua, HI/Iolani HS). Senior forward Kari Woody (Boise, ID/Timberline HS) contributed six points and seven rebounds in just 15 minutes played.

Corban placed three players in double figures, led by Tosha Wilson with 18 points. Wilson converted 7 of 10 field goals and went 3 for 3 at the line. Jessica Steigleman added 14 points, five rebounds, two blocked shots and two steals. Brianne Carras recorded a double-double for the Warriors with 13 points and a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Warriors shot 47.1% in the first half (16 of 34), while limiting the Bearcats to 25.7% (9 of 35) over the first 20 minutes. CC held a slim edge in field goal shooting in the second half, as the visitors hit 11 of 33 shots (33.3%) and Willamette made 10 of 31 shots (32.3%).

Willamette’s improved play in the second half included a solid effort at the charity stripe. After not shooting a single free throw in the first half, the Bearcats sank 15 of 20 free throws in the second period. Corban responded by hitting 11 of 12
free throws in the second half to finish 17 of 19 on the night (89.5%).

The Bearcats scored the game’s first six points and led 10-9 at the 13:10 mark of the opening stanza. Corban went on a 10-0 run to claim a 19-10 advantage with 10:20 to go. Baskets by Fujioka, Laura Payne (Jr., G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) and Nygaard cut the margin to 19-16, before Corban pulled away.

WU tallied the first five points of the second half to start an 8-2 run that pulled the Bearcats within 43-26 with 17:08 remaining. Corban answered with a 7-2 run of its own, as the Warriors extended the lead to 50-28.

Corban earned a 46-44 rebounding edge, led by Carras’ 12 boards. The Warriors also achieved a small edge in turnovers, with Willamette committing 17 and Corban recording 16. CC swept the season series, after also defeating the Bearcats 71-62 on Nov. 21.

Willamette will return to action on Friday, Dec. 8, with a non-conference game at Western Oregon University. Game time in Monmouth, Ore., is set for 7 p.m. (PST). The Bearcats will be idle for three weeks after the WOU game, but will be in Atherton, Calif., on Dec. 29 and 30, for the Peninsula Hoops Classic at Menlo College. WU will open the tournament against Menlo at 7 p.m. (PST) on the 29th and will conclude the event against California State University-East Bay at 5 p.m. on the 30th.