Bearcats Fall to Menlo 68-48 in First Round of Bon Appetit Classic

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

PORTLAND, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's basketball team opened the 2007-08 season with a 68-48 loss to Menlo College, ranked #10 in NAIA Division II, on the opening day of the Bon Appetit Classic, Friday, Nov. 16 at Lewis & Clark College. Menlo received 28 points from Kepua Lee in recording the win, while Molly Fillion (Jr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton CC) led Willamette with 20 points.

The Oaks were in front by 18 points, 37-19, at halftime. Menlo outscored the Bearcats by just two points in the second half, 31-29. Menlo started the season at 1-0. Willamette is 0-1.

Kelci Fushikoshi of Menlo hit a 3-pointer just 28 seconds into the game and the Oaks built a 5-2 lead. Willamette countered with a 5-0 run, as the Bearcats took a 7-5 advantage on a layup by Fillion. Menlo tallied the next five points to start a 10-2 offensive swing to claim a 15-9 lead over the 'Cats with 12:42 left in the half.

WU pulled within four points twice, including 17-13 at the 10:52 mark. Menlo scored the next 14 points, including 10 by Lee, as the Oaks pulled away to a 31-13 margin. Nicki Clowdsley (So., C, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) ended the scoreless streak with a layup for the Bearcats with 3:30 left in the first period.

The Oaks started the second half with a 6-0 run and outscored Willamette 17-1 over the first 3:01 of the final stanza. Fillion's free throw at the 17:32 mark was WU's only score of the second half until Fillion added a layup less than a minute later.

Willamette used Fillion's basket to start a 16-7 run that pulled the 'Cat within 53-36 with 11:45 to go. The Oaks regained a 20-point margin at 56-36, when Emily Zygmontowicz tallied the next basket from behind the three-point line with 10:19 remaining.

Joining Lee in double figures for Menlo were Fushikoshi and Zygmontowicz, each with 10 points. Sonet Yee added eight points, five assists and two steals for the Oaks. Menlo shot 42.9% from the field in the first half (15 of 35), but fell off to 34.5% in the second half (10 of 29). Menlo was 25 of 64 (39.1%) overall. The Oaks achieved a 47-41 rebounding margin and committed just 12 turnovers.

Fillion's 20 points for Willamette included 8 of 18 on field goals (3 of 7 three-pointers) and 1 for 2 at the line. She also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Laura Payne (Sr.,G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) and Alex Zennan (Fr., G, Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) each recorded seven points for the Bearcats. Willamette shot just 25.8% in the first half (8 of 31) and improved to 30.3% in the second half (10 of 33).

Willamette made 8 of 12 free throws, but converted just 4 of 23 three-point shots. Zennan and Jenny Fillion (Jr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton CC) led the 'Cats with three assists apiece. Zennan also earned two steals.

The Bearcats will play Haverford College (Pa.) on Saturday, Nov. 17 in the second round of the Bon Appetit Classic. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).

Menlo College 68, Willamette University 48
Molly Fillion led the Bearcats with 20 points against Menlo on Nov. 16.

Molly Fillion led the Bearcats with 20 points against Menlo on Nov. 16.