Payne Hits 3-Pointer with 0:47 Left to Send Bearcats Past Lutes, 60-57

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Laura Payne (Sr., G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) hit a 3-pointer with 1:52 remaining to tie the game, then swished another with 47 seconds left, sending Willamette University to a 60-57 victory over visiting Pacific Lutheran University on Saturday, Feb. 9 at Cone Field House. With the win, Willamette swept the season series 2-0 over its NWC rivals.

WU improved to 5-16 overall, including 3-9 in the NWC. The Lutes fell to 11-10 on the season, 4-8 in the NWC. Willamette also defeated PLU on Jan. 12, when the Bearcats rallied from 12 points down in the final 5:51 for a 67-64 triumph.

In Saturday's second meeting, Willamette trailed 57-54 before Payne's long-range heroics. Payne finished the game with 16 points on 6 of 13 shooting (4 of 8 on threes). Molly Fillion (Jr., Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton CC) also scored 16 points for the Bearcats and contributed 11 rebounds. Alex Zennan (Fr., G, Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) chipped in 13 points.

Pacific Lutheran was led by Emily Voorhies, who scored 18 points and hauled down eight boards. Trinity Gibbons provided 16 points and 16 rebounds for PLU.

Neither team scored again after WU moved in front in the final minute. Nikki Scott missed a jumper for the Lutes with 26 seconds left. Voorhies failed to convert a free throw for PLU with 23 seconds to go and Molly Fillion misfired on a free throw for tWillamette one second later.

The Lutes' final attempt was taken by Kyle Haag, who missed a 3-pointer with two seconds on the clock. Gibbons grabbed the rebound, but was unable to shoot before the buzzer sounded.

The first half included two ties and 10 lead changes. Willamette trailed 21-20 after a jumper by Trish Buckingham with 5:03 left in the period, but the Bearcats put together an 8-2 run to claim a 28-23 advantage at the 2:11 mark.

Molly Fillion opened the run with a pair of free throws. Erin Barclay (Fr., Snohomish, WA/Bothell HS) added a jumper with 4:39 on the clock and Tracie Nygaard (Sr., F, Knappa, OR/Knappa HS) tacked on a free throw with 3:07 left in the half. Zennan completed the offensive surge with 3-pointer with 2:11 remaining.

PLU closed the half with a 4-0 run to pull within 28-27 at the break. Buckingham scored on a jumper with 39 seconds left and Trinity Gibbons provided the Lutes with a lengthy two-point basket at the buzzer.

The Bearcats trailed 39-32 several minutes into the second half, but rallied with an 8-0 surge. Payne hit a 3-pointer with 12:45 left to finish the run.

A layup by Voorhies at the 11:20 mark was the game's next basket, as PLU moved back into the lead. Willamette answered with a jumper by Zennan with 10:38 to go, giving the 'Cats a 42-41 edge. WU added a 3-pointer by Zennan for a four-point margin, and later held a 50-45 lead with 7:50 remaining.

Pacific Lutheran countered with a 10-4 offensive surge. Gibbons scored all 10 points during the run, including a pair of free throws to put PLU in front 55-54 with 3:53 on the clock. Voorhies added a jumper with 2:09 to go, but the three-point margin was erased by Payne's three-pointer 17 seconds later.

Willamette struggled from the field in the first half (9 of 34, 26.5%), but improved to 44.4% in the second half (12 of 27). The Bearcats connected on 7 of 21 three-pointers (33.3%), while PLU made just 2 of 15 trifectas (13.3%). Each team went 11 of 18 at the free throw line.

The Lutes achieved a 44-39 rebounding edge, but Willamette won the turnover battle. PLU was credited with 14 turnovers, while the Bearcats lost the ball a season-low nine times. The Bearcats were credited with seven steals, including two each by Nygaard, Zennan and Jenny Fillion (Jr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton CC). Jenny Fillion led all players with four assists.

WU will remain at home to take on Linfield College on Tuesday, Feb. 12. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST). Linfield held off the Bearcats for a 68-64 win in McMinnville, Ore., on Jan. 15.

Willamette University 60, Pacific Lutheran University 57
Laura Payne scored 16 points and made four 3-pointers against Pacific Lutheran.

Laura Payne scored 16 points and made four 3-pointers against Pacific Lutheran.