Whitman, Ranked #24, Defeats Willamette, 61-34

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Whitman College, ranked #24 in NCAA Division III, built a 33-19 lead in the first half on its way to a 61-34 Northwest Conference victory over Willamette University on Saturday, Jan. 10 at Cone Field House. Whitman upped its record to 11-2 overall, 3-1 in the NWC, while the Bearcats went to 1-9 on the season, 0-4 in the NWC.

The Missionaries were led by Rebecca Sexton, who scored 14 points on 7 of 11 shooting. She also contributed six rebounds and blocked one shot. Hilary White supplied Whitman with solid statistics, including eight points, 12 rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Alex Zennan (So., G/PG, Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) scored 13 points and registered three steals for Willamette. She was 5 of 8 from the field. Molly Fillion (Sr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton CC) provided nine points and 11 rebounds. Fillion also matched Zennan with three steals.

Willamette battled Whitman on even ground in the early minutes. The Bearcats tied the game 4-4 on a layup by Zennan at the 18:09 mark and claimed an 8-8 tie on a layup by Jenny Fillion (Sr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton CC) with 11:58 on the clock.

The Missionaries put together an 8-0 run to take a 16-8 lead with 10:34 remaining in the half. Whitman's run included two 3-pointers by Jennifer Keyes.

Over the next few minutes, Whitman led by as many as nine points, but Zennan connected on a 3-pointer with 6:26 left in the stanza to pull WU within 23-17. The rest of the period was controlled by Whitman, as the Missionaries outscored the Bearcats, 10-2, to build a 33-19 advantage.

Whitman scored the first eight points of the second half to extend the margin to 41-19. The Missionaries cruised the rest of the way.

Molly Fillion's 11 rebounds for Willamette represented her seventh double-digit effort on the glass this season, including four games in a row. She continues to lead the NWC in both scoring (14.9 avg.) and rebounding (11.2 avg.).

The Bearcats struggled against Whitman's defense, as the Missionaries allowed only 20.4% shooting (10 of 49). Willamette made just 2 of 20 field goals in the second half. Both teams shot 50.0% at the foul line, as the 'Cats made 13 of 26 free throws and the Missionaries hit 7 of 14.

Whitman shot 48.4% in the first half (15 of 31), but dropped off to 36.7% (11 of 30) over the final 20 minutes. The Missionaries outrebounded Willamette, 44-39.

Up next for Willamette is a Northwest Conference game at Pacific University on Friday, Jan. 16. Tipoff at the Pacific Athletic Center in Forest Grove, Ore., is slated for 6 p.m. (PST).

Whitman College 61
Willamette University 34
Against Whitman, Alex Zennan made 5 of 8 field goals on her way to 13 points.

Against Whitman, Alex Zennan made 5 of 8 field goals on her way to 13 points.