Bethany Keeps Willamette from Completing Comeback in 68-58 Win for Bruins

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University mounted a comeback from a double-digit margin in the final three minutes, but Bethany University (Calif.), held off the Bearcats and scored the game's final six points for a 68-58 victory at the Bruce Henderson Memorial Capital City Classic, Saturday, Nov. 28 at Corban College. Bethany, from the NAIA, moved to 1-7 overall. Willamette, from NCAA Division III, fell to 1-3.

Bethany University 68
Willamette University 58
(Bruce Henderson Memorial Capital City Classic at Corban College)

Ellie Markwardt was Bethany's top scorer with 19 points, including 3 of 6 three-point shooting. She also grabbed six rebounds and earned three steals.

Willamette was led by Keilyn Fujioka (Jr., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School), who tallied 16 points, pounded the glass for 15 rebounds and blocked three shots. Alex Zennan (Jr., G, Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) provided WU with 13 points, eight boards and three assists.

Markwardt was joined in double figures by Bethany teammates Ashlee Sherman and Rachael Estabrook. Sherman scored 15 points to go with five boards. Estabrook registered 14 points, while achieving five steals and three assists.

Kaileigh Westermann (So., F, Belfair, WA/ South Kitsap HS) of Willamette barely missed recording a double-double. She scored nine points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Shayna Glenn (Jr., Post, Boise, ID/Walla Walla CC) scored eight points for WU on 4 of 5 shooting from the field. Glenn hauled down five boards and contributed three assists.

Bethany led 7-4 just over four minutes into the game. A bit later, the Bruins used a 7-2 run to take a 16-10 advantage following a 3-pointer by Janessa McGirt.

WU trailed by 12 points, 26-14, at the 5:40 mark. The Bearcats rallied with a 14-3 run to tie the game, 29-29, on a basket and a foul shot by Westermann with 1:11 on the clock. Bethany scored the final points of the half on a 3-pointer with 14 seconds left, as the Bruins took a 32-29 halftime lead.

Willamette moved within a basket of the Bruins, 39-37, on a layup by Fujioka with 14:25 left. The Bruins eventually extended the lead to 54-41, with 8:19 to play.

The Bearcats trailed 60-49 at the 3:25 mark before starting their final comeback. Glenn hit a jumper to cut the lead to nine points, but McGirt put in a free throw for Bethany with 2:59 remaining.

A 3-pointer by Willamette's Lauren Vannini (Fr., G, Bellevue, WA/Newport HS) with 2:48 remaining reduced the lead to seven points. After Bethany tacked on a free throw, Sophie Wilson (Fr., F, G, Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS) scored on a running jumper with 2:26 to go, as WU cut the lead to 62-56.

Willamette scored the next two points on a pair of free throws by Zennan to pull within 62-58 with 1:56 left. Bethany didn't let the Bearcats score again, as the Bruins held on for their first win of the season.

Bethany shot 43.5% for the game (20 of 46), after hitting 55.0% (11 of 20) in the first half. The Bruins made 6 of 15 three-pointers and sank 22 of 44 free throws (50.0%).

Willamette was held to 29.9% shooting from the field (20 of 67), as the Bearcats hit just 4 of 24 three-pointers. WU was successful on 14 of 18 free throws (77.8%) and achieved a 54-34 rebounding edge over the Bruins.

Fujioka was named to the All-Tournament Team. In Willamette's two games, she scored 38 points (19.0 avg.) and grabbed 32 rebounds (16.0 avg.). She shot 43.8% from the field, blocked four shots and registered four steals.

Joining Fujioka on the All-Tournament Team were Tess Bennett (MVP) of Corban College, Ellie Markwardt of Bethany, Jennifer McNamara of William Jessup University (Calif.), Jennesa Miller of Corban and Katie Steigleman of Corban.

Willamette and Bethany both finished 1-1 in the tournament. Corban defeated William Jessup in the second game on Saturday, 69-57, to win the tournament with a 2-0 record. William Jessup went 0-2.

Alex Zennan scored 13 points, grabbed eight boards and earned three assists against Bethany.

Alex Zennan scored 13 points, grabbed eight boards and earned three assists against Bethany.