Whitworth Outpaces Willamette in Battle of Hot-Shooting Teams, 82-71

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

SPOKANE, WASH. -- In a Northwest Conference battle that featured two teams lighting up the scoreboard in the first half, it was Whitworth University that continued to shoot well in the second half, as the Pirates defeated Willamette University, 82-71, on Saturday, Feb. 2. The Pirates improved to 11-8 overall, 6-4 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 4-15, 2-8 in the NWC.

Whitworth led 50-40 at the intermission after ending the half with a 10-1 run. The Pirates made 55.2% of their shots in the first half (16 of 29), while Willamette hit an impressive 66.7% from the field during the opening period (16 of 24).

In the second half, Whitworth increased its field goal accuracy to 61.9% (13 of 31), while Willamette dropped to 40.0% (12 of 30). Even so, the Bearcats were outscored by just a single point over the final 20 minutes.

Laura Payne (Sr., G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) opened the second half for Willamette by hitting a 3-pointer just eight seconds into the period. Whitworth recorded the next basket, but the 'Cats pulled within five points, 54-47, on a jumper by Vic Swigart (Jr., Newport Beach, CA/Sir Francis Drake HS) with 16:31 to go.

Whitworth put in the next four points to start a 9-2 run. Courtney Gaddis completed the rally with a layup and foul shot at the 13:13 mark, as the Pirates took a 61-49 lead.

Molly Fillion (Jr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton CC) made two free throws with 11:38 left, then provided the Bearcats with a layup 23 seconds later to reduce Whitworth's advantage to 61-53. Willamette never got closer, as Whitworth improved to 4-4 at home.

Fillion was Willamette's top scorer with 23 points on 8 of 14 shooting and 6 for 6 at the line. She also led the Bearcats with eight rebounds, helping Willamette achieve a 28-25 rebounding edge.

Payne tacked on 15 points and made 6 of 10 field goals. Erin Barclay (Fr., G, Snohomish, WA/Bothell Senior HS) contributed seven points and a team-high four assists. Swigart finished with six points and six rebounds.

Whitworth placed five players in double figures, with Gaddis topping the scoring chart at18 points. She was 7 of 8 on field goals, including 2 for 2 on 3-point shots.

Cassie Snyder added 14 points for the Pirates, while Natalie Orrell and Alida Bower produced 12 points each. Bower also grabbed seven rebounds. Tiffany Corigliano also reached double figures with 11 points.

The Pirates finished the night with 29 baskets on 50 shots (58.0%). Willamette shot 51.9% overall (28 of 54). Both teams excelled from 3-point range in the first half, as Whitworth hit 7 of 12 attempts and the 'Cats made 4 of 8 shots. In the second half, however, the Pirates missed all four of their long-range shots, while the Bearcats hit just 2 of 11.

Willamette will play again on Friday, Feb. 8 at George Fox University in Newberg, Ore.. The NWC game is set to begin at 6 p.m. (PST).

Whitworth University 82, Willamette University 71
Molly Fillion scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Whitworth.

Molly Fillion scored 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds against Whitworth.