Westminster Pulls Away from Willamette for 82-56 Win

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

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH -- Willamette University put up a strong battle against the highly-regarded women's basketball team from Westminster College (Utah) throughout the first half, but the Bearcats couldn't keep pace with the Griffins in the second half of an 82-56 loss, at the Westminster College Tournament on Friday, Nov. 30. The Griffins improved to 9-1 on the season. Willamette dropped to 2-5.

The Bearcats led 5-2 and 11-9 early in the game. Willamette also was tied with the Griffins, 20-20, at the 9:50 mark in the first half, following a field goal by Tracie Nygaard (Sr., F, Knappa, OR/Knappa HS). The Bearcats trailed by just five points, 29-24, after Molly Fillion (Jr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton CC) sank a basket with 2:15 left in the half.

Westminster ended the half with a 9-3 run that extended the lead to 38-27 at the intermission. The Griffins opened the second stanza by scoring seven of the first 10 points and increasing the lead to 15 points, 43-30, with 16:15 remaining.

Fillion hit a 3-pointer for WU eight seconds later, but the Bearcats were unable to rally. Westminster answered Fillion's trifecta with a 17-4 run to take control with a 62-37 advantage at the 10:25 mark. The offensive surge ended with a 12-0 run by the Griffins.

Willamette placed four players in double figures led by Laura Payne (Sr., G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) with 13 points. Alex Zennan (Fr., G, Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) and Fillion tallied 12 points apiece. Nygaard chipped in 11 points for the Bearcats.

WU shot 50.0% in the first half (12 of 24), but slipped to 40.0% (10 of 25) over the final 20 minutes. The Bearcats connected on just 4 of 16 three-pointers during the game and committed 26 turnovers, 18 in the first half. Willamette was 8 of 13 (61.5%) at the line.

Westminster hit 51.7% of its field goals (31 of 60), including 53.1% (17 of 32) in the first half. WC made 6 of 20 three-pointers and hit 14 of 21 free throws (66.7%).

Elisa Leader was one of four Griffins in double figures, as she scored 14 points. Kelsi Olsen added 13 points, Shannon Evans provided 12 points and Rachel Shippee tacked on 10 points. The Griffins achieved a 38-25 rebounding margin. WC recorded 20 turnovers, six less than the Bearcats.

Evans led all players with 12 rebounds for Westminster. Fillion and Payne each hauled down six boards for Willamette.

The Bearcats will return to action on Friday, Dec. 7 and Saturday, Dec. 8 at the Oregon Institute of Technology Tournament in Klamath Falls, Ore. Willamette will open the tournament against Southern Oregon University on Dec. 7 and will play Oregon Tech on Dec. 8. Both games are scheduled for 5:30 p.m. (PST).

Westminster College 82, Willamette University 56