Occidental Defeats Willamette, 80-60, in Women's Basketball

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

WHITTIER, CALIF. -- Occidental College defeated Willamette University, 80-60, on Thursday, Dec. 3, in the first game of the Bearcats' two-game road trip to the Tiger/Poet Classic. The game was played at Whittier College, which is co-hosting the tournament with the Tigers. Occidental improved to 4-1 on the season, while Willamette dropped to 1-4.

The Bearcats will play Whittier on Friday, Dec. 4. Game time on the Occidental campus in Los Angeles, Calif., is scheduled for 5 p.m. (PST).

Alex Zennan (Jr., Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) led Willamette with 27 points. She was 5 of 9 on three-point shots and 9 of 20 overall from the floor. She finished just two points short of her career high of 29 points, set at Pacific University on Jan. 16 last season.

Erin Barclay (Jr., G, Snohomish, WA/Bothell HS) finished with nine points for the Bearcats. She also earned three assists and four steals. Maya McFaddin (So., G, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) tacked on another nine points and grabbed five rebounds. Keilyn Fujioka (Jr., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) scored eight points and achieved seven rebounds.

Dior Williams led Occidental with 19 points and was 8 of 11 on field goals. The Tigers also received 13 points from Stephanie Babij and 12 points from Makenzie Brandon.

Occidental scored 15 unanswered points early in the game to surge out from a 6-6 tie into a 21-6 lead at the 13:55 mark. Willamette countered with a 9-1 run that reduced the lead to 22-15 with 9:41 left in the first half. The run included a layup and a 3-pointer by Zennan.

WU cut the lead to seven points two more times in the first half and trailed by eight, 38-30, at the intermission. Barclay moved the lead below double digits by hitting a layup with 12 seconds on the clock.

The Tigers surged out again at the start of the second half, using an 11-0 run to take a 49-30 lead with 16:08 remaining. Williams opened the half with a 3-pointer eight seconds into the period and provided a total of seven points during the run. Occidental led by at least 13 points the rest of the way.

Bolstered by hitting five of their first six shots to start the second half, the Tigers connected on 54.8% (17 of 31) of their field goals in the final 20 minutes. Occidental finished the game 31 of 60 (51.7%) on field goals overall.

Willamette shot 40.0% from the field (20 of 50) and made 6 of 17 three-pointers (35.3%). Occidental went 6 of 16 (37.5%) from 3-point range.

The Tigers gained a 37-28 edge on the glass. Brandon recorded 10 rebounds to lead all players. Babij contributed eight rebounds.

Each team committed 19 fouls and both teams had difficulty protecting the ball. Willamette made 25 turnovers, while Occidental lost the ball 24 times. Barclay's four steals led the Bearcats. Williams registered six steals for the Tigers.

In Thursday's second game, Lewis & Clark College downed Whittier, 78-69. The Pioneers will take on Occidental in the late game on Friday at 7:30 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE
Occidental College 80
Willamette University 60
(Tiger/Poet Classic at Whittier College)
Alex Zennan scored a game-high 27 points for the Bearcats.

Alex Zennan scored a game-high 27 points for the Bearcats.

Alex Zennan hit 9 of 20 field goals, including 5 of 9 on 3-pointers.

Alex Zennan hit 9 of 20 field goals, including 5 of 9 on 3-pointers.