Fujioka Scores 23 Points, Grabs 15 Rebounds, as Bearcats Defeat CSU-East Bay, 66-52, at Peninsula Hoops Classic

ATHERTON, CALIF. -- Freshman forward Keilyn Fujioka (Kailua, HI/Iolani HS) scored a game-high 23 points and led all players with 15 rebounds, sending Willamette University to a 66-52 victory over California State University-East Bay on Saturday, Dec. 30, in the second round of the Peninsula Hoops Classic, hosted by Menlo College. Willamette improved to 2-9 on the season, while CSU-East Bay fell to 2-8.

The Bearcats shot 49.2% for the game (30 of 61), including 54.5% in the first half (18 of 33). Fujioka led the way by hitting 11 of 12 field goals, including a 4-for-4 performance in the final 20 minutes.

Fujioka score 15 points in the first period, helping WU build a 41-21 halftime lead. She finished the game as one of three Bearcats in double figures. Kari Woody (Sr., F, Boise, ID/Timberline HS) contributed 12 points on 5 of 9 shooting and went 2 for 2 at the line. Woody also provided three assists. Laura Payne (Jr., G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS)
chipped in 10 points for the Bearcats to go with a team-high four assists.

CSU-East Bay shot 33.3% from the field (20 of 60). The Pioneers made just 8 of 29 shots (27.6%) in the first half and did not sink a 3-pointer during the game (0 for 10). East Bay did receive more trips to the free throw line, where the Pioneers converted 12 of 23 attempts, compared to Willamette’s 3 for 5. WU was called for 19 fouls, while CSU-EB was whistled for nine fouls.

Willamette earned a 39-30 rebounding margin, as Fujioka was the game’s only double-digit rebounder. The Bearcats made just 3 of 12 three-point shots, but shot 55.1% inside the arc (27 of 49).

The Bearcats trailed 3-2 early in the game, before Willamette went on a 17-0 run to take a 19-3 lead with 14:08 left in the opening half. Fujioka scored 11 of WU’s first 19 points, including nine during the 17-point run. East Bay eventually pulled within 10 points at 25-15, following a field goal by Nicole Scott at the 9:29 mark. The ‘Cats answered with a 16-6 run to end the half.

At the start of the second half, CSU-East Bay scored eight consecutive points to get as close as 41-29 with 17:24 to go. Willamette countered with a 7-0 run in the next 2:15 for a 48-29 edge.

The Pioneers made one more charge at the Bearcats, eventually reducing the lead to 11 points, 52-41, following a field goal by Jenene James with 9:50 remaining. The teams exchanged the next two baskets, before WU recorded back-to-back scores by Fujioka and Woody for a 58-43 advantage at the 6:32 mark. WU maintained a double-digit lead the rest of the way.

East Bay was led by Lulu Orense, who scored 13 points and had five assists. Orense also achieved five steals, as CSU-EB ended the night with 14 steals overall. Scott tacked on 12 points for the Pioneers. James also reached double figures, as she hit the nets for 12 points to go with a team-high nine rebounds.

The Bearcats, who have won two of their last three games, will return to action on Friday, Jan. 5, in a Northwest Conference home game against Pacific University. Game time at Cone Field House on the Willamette campus is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).