Willamette's Second Half Rally Falls Short as Linfield Wins, 57-50

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

McMINNVILLE, ORE. -- Linfield College held off a late run by Willamette University, as the Wildcats downed the Bearcats, 57-50, in a Northwest Conference game at Ted Wilson Gymnasium on Tuesday, Jan. 6. The Bearcats trailed 48-34, with just over nine minutes left, but cut the margin to 51-49 entering the final minutes. Linfield closed the contest with a 6-0 run.

The Wildcats improve to 2-9 overall and to 1-1 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette dropped to 1-7 on the season, 0-2 in the NWC.

Nadra Evans of Linfield led the Wildcats with 16 points. She also earned four rebounds, three assists and three steals, but committed eight turnovers and fouled out late in the game. Sarah Amina and Kelsey Forrest added nine points each for the Wildcats. Forest was LC’s top rebounder with seven boards.

For Willamette, Molly Fillion (Sr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton CC) hit the nets for 16 points, grabbed 15 rebounds and achieved three steals. Jenny Fillion (Sr., G, Silverton, OR/Silverton HS/Linn-Benton CC) tacked on 10 points and 12 boards, while Maya McFaddin (Fr., Wing, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) contributed seven points. Kaileigh Westermann (Fr., Post, Belfair, WA/South Kitsap HS) provided the Bearcats with nine rebounds.

The game started slowly, but the Bearcats scored the first basket and also held a 4-2 lead. With 13:15 remaining in the half, McFaddin scored in a driving layup to give the Bearcats an 8-4 lead. A three-pointer by Tiana Abbley (Fr., G, Honolulu, HI/Kamehameha School) increased WU’s lead to 11-4.

Another 3-pointer, this time by McFaddin at the 8:38 mark, resulted in a 16-11 advantage for the Bearcats. Linfield responded by scoring the next seven points and held an 18-16 lead with 3:47 remaining in the half.

Willamette recovered to tie the game on a layup by Nicki Clowdsley (So., Post, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) with 3:25 on the clock. The Bearcats took a 20-18 lead when Alex Zennan (So., PG, Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) sank a jumper at the 2:31 mark.

Linfield ended the half with a 7-0 run for a 25-20 halftime margin. Lindsey Gummersall started the run with a layup and a foul shot. Stephanie Fennimore closed out the half with back-to-back layups on fast break opportunities, as she scored with 45 seconds and nine seconds remaining.

Willamette shot just 22.9% during the half (8 of 35). Linfield also struggled until its final run of the period. The Wildcats finished the half 11 of 31 from the field (35.5%).

Abbley registered the first basket of the second half to pull WU within 25-22, but the Wildcats scored the next seven points for a 32-22 lead with 17:18 remaining. Jenny Fillion countered with four consecutive points for Willamette, but the Wildcats eventually led 40-30 with 13:40 to go.

Molly Fillion took two trips the line for Willamette, where she made all four charity shots to cut the lead to 40-34 at the 10:56 mark. Linfield put together an 8-0 run to extend its lead to 14 points as the clock reached 9:28.

WU pulled back within seven points at 48-41 with 7:45 left. The Bearcats made their move with a basket by McFaddin, two free throws by Jenny Fillion and a three-point play by Molly Fillion.

The Bearcats continued to reduce the lead, and trailed just 51-46 after Zennan hit a 3-pointer with 5:55 remaining. A driving layup by Molly Fillion cut the deficit to 51-48 a bit later. When Molly Fillion made a free throw with 1:06 left, the Bearcat were within two points at 51-49.

Amanda Juarez made the first of two free throw for the Wildcats with 39.2 seconds to go, and Amina stole the ensuing in-bounds pass and added a layup for LC less than four seconds later. Linfield led 54-49.

Willamette shot 34.5% (10 of 29) in the second half to finish the game 18 of 64 (28.1%). Linfield was 11 of 32 (34.4%) in the second half and made 34.9% of its shots during the game (22 of 63).

The Bearcats owned a 26-25 rebounding end at halftime and finished the night with a 56-42 margin on the glass. Willamette lost the ball 26 times against Linfield’s full-court press. The Wildcats committed 21 turnovers.

Willamette will play its first NWC home game of the season on Friday, Jan. 9 against Whitworth University. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PST). It will be WU’s first home game since Head Coach Bruce Henderson passed away on Dec. 8.

The Bearcats also will play at home on Saturday, Jan. 10 against Whitman College. Tip-off is scheduled for 4 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE
Linfield College 57
Willamette University 50
Molly Fillion led the Bearcats with 16 points and 15 rebounds against Linfield.

Molly Fillion led the Bearcats with 16 points and 15 rebounds against Linfield.

Jenny Fillion scored 10 points against the Wildcats.

Jenny Fillion scored 10 points against the Wildcats.