Menlo Defeats Willamette, 47-31, at Peninsula Hoops Classic

Payne Leads Bearcats with 15 Points

ATHERTON, CALIF. -- Menlo College rallied from a two-point halftime deficit to defeat Willamette University, 47-31, during the first round of the Peninsula Hoops Classic on Friday, Dec. 29. The Bearcats led 24-22 at halftime, but were outscored by the Lady Oaks 25-7 in the second half. Menlo improved to 7-1 on the season, while Willamette fell to 1-9.

Laura Payne (Jr., G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) led Willamette with 15 points, as she made 6 of 10 field goals, including 3 of 5 on three-point attempts. Payne also contributed five rebounds. Keilyn Fujioka (Fr., F, Kailua, HI/Iolani HS) was WU’s top rebounder with 10 boards. Kari Woody (Sr., F, Boise, ID/Timberline HS) added six rebounds for the Bearcats.

Menlo also placed one player in double figures, as Kepua Lee provided more than half of the Lady Oaks’ offense. She connected on 13 of 29 field goals on her way to a game-high 28 points. She also was the game’s top rebounder with 13 boards. Lee struggled at the line, where she converted just 2 of 7 attempts.

Sonet Yee added nine points and seven assists for the Lady Oaks, while Emily Zygmontowicz provided Menlo with seven rebounds. Lee and Zygmontowicz helped Menlo achieve a 35-31 rebounding edge.

Willamette played well defensively, limiting the Lady Oaks to just 34.6% shooting (19 of 55). Menlo hit just 4 of 13 three-pointers (30.8%) and sank only 5 of 14 free throws (35.7%).

The Bearcats also faced a solid defensive effort by Menlo. Willamette netted just 14 of 51 field goals (27.5%), including 3 of 11 three-pointers (27.3%). WU was unable to take advantage of Menlo’s free throw shooting troubles, as the Bearcats went 0 for 2 in their only free throw attempts of the night.

Menlo scored the game’s first eight points, with Yee’s 3-pointer at 18:32 providing the 8-0 margin. Payne recorded Willamette’s first basket at 18:09, but MC followed with another basket to take a 10-2 lead.

The Bearcats countered with a 13-4 run and claimed a 15-14 lead on a rebound and basket by Maggie Hake (Sr., F, Kentfield, CA/Marin Catholic HS) at the 8:06 mark. Willamette led 20-17 after a 3-pointer by Payne with 6:26 remaining in the half, then took a 22-17 advantage when Maggie Wilkens (So., G, Seattle, WA/Lakeside HS) tacked on a field goal with 4:37 on the clock.

Lee tied the game for Menlo at 22-22, on a field goal with 1:39 left in the opening period. Willamette claimed a two-point halftime lead after Fujioka scored the only remaining points of the half on a basket with 56 seconds to go.

MC opened the second half with a 12-0 run to achieve a 34-24 lead with 15:13 remaining. Rebekah Wells (Jr., G, Lynnwood, WA/Edmonds-Woodway HS) scored for the Bearcats at the 14:42 mark to end the run, but the Lady Oaks tallied the next four points for a 38-26 advantage. Payne nailed a 3-pointer with 11:50 left, cutting the lead to 38-29, before Menlo took control with a 9-0 run. Payne scored on a field goal with 4:20 left for the final basket by either team.

Willamette will conclude the Peninsula Hoops Classic on Saturday (Dec. 30) against Cal State-East Bay at 5 p.m. (PST). CSU-East Bay fell to 2-7 on Friday, after losing 52-39 to Lewis & Clark College (Ore.).