Whitworth Defeats Visiting Bearcats, 74-57

SPOKANE, WASH. -- Alida Bower scored 25 points and hauled down 11 rebounds, helping Whitworth College pull away from Willamette University for a 74-57 victory over the Bearcats, on Friday, Feb. 16, at the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Whitworth improved to 14-11 overall and evened its Northwest Conference record at 8-8. Willamette, which defeated the Pirates 64-58 on Jan. 19 in Salem, Ore., fell to 4-20, 2-13 in the NWC.

Whitworth led 36-27 at halftime and scored the first four points of the second half to extend its advantage to 13 points. The Bearcats went on a 12-3 run to cut the margin to just four points, 43-39, when Keilyn Fujioka (Fr., F, Kailua, HI/Iolani HS) scored on a layup with 14:23 remaining. The Pirates responded by scoring seven unanswered points for a 50-39 lead with 11:41 left.

Willamette scored the next three points on a basket by Tracie Nygaard (Jr., F, Knappa, OR/Knappa HS) and a free throw by Sarah Brooks (Sr., G, Rainier, OR/Rainier HS), as the Bearcats moved within eight points of Whitworth as the clock approached the 9:00 mark. Cassie Snyder hit a 3-pointer for the Pirates with 8:49 to go and Willamette trailed by double digits the rest of the game.

Bower’s 25 points and 11 rebounds led all players. She was 7 of 14 from the field, 3 of 8 on 3-pointers and 8 for 8 at the line. She was joined in double figures for Whitworth by Susan McDaniel, with 12 points, and by Natalie Orrell, who tacked on 11 points. McDaniel also grabbed 10 rebounds for the Pirates, helping WC claim a 41-30 rebounding edge overall.

Other top players for Whitworth were Snyder, Molly Schlander and Tiffany Corigliano. Snyder scored nine points, while Schlander provided eight points and three assists, and Corigliano brought down six rebounds.

Willamette’s leading scorer was Brooks, who hit the nets for 17 points. Brooks was 5 of 7 from the field, including 4 for 4 on 3-pointers. She also contributed two steals, two rebounds and one assist. Fujioka, playing for the first time since receiving a leg injury in the closing seconds at Lewis & Clark College on Feb. 10, also reached double figures. In 27 minutes off the bench, she tallied 15 points and grabbed five rebounds. Fujioka was 5 of 9 on field goals and 5 of 6 at the line.

Laura Payne (Jr., G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) added nine points, a game-high five assists and four rebounds for the Bearcats. Nygaard provided six points and five rebounds.

The Bearcats shot 36.7% for the game (18 of 49) and made 17 of 25 free throws (68.0%). Whitworth connected on 42.1% of its field goals (24 of 57) and missed just three free throws, while going 17 of 20 at the line (85.0%). Each team committed 16 turnovers, with the Pirates earning eight steals and the Bearcats recording seven. Whitworth hit 9 of 20 three-pointers, while WU made 4 of 9 long-range shots.

In the first half, the teams changed leads seven times and there were two ties. The Bearcats led 19-17 following a layup by Maggie Hake (Sr., F, Kentfield, CA/Marin Catholic HS) with 7:17 on the clock. Snyder sank a 3-pointer at the 6:20 mark, as the Pirates moved in front, 20-19. WU trailed just 28-25 with 3:21 left, but Whitworth registered the next six points to achieve a 34-25 edge heading into the final minute of the opening period.

Willamette will conclude the season on Saturday, Feb. 17 at Whitman College in Walla Walla, Wash. Game time for the Northwest Conference contest is set for 8 p.m. (PST). Whitman defeated the Bearcats 52-41 in Salem on Jan. 20.