Women's Basketball Game Night: Bearcats Travel East to Face Whitworth and Whitman

By Sara Brooks, Assistant Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6219

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's basketball team captured its first Northwest Conference win of the season last weekend. The Bearcats will look to build on that success this weekend as they head out on the road to face Whitworth University and Whitman College.

Willamette will play Whitworth on Friday, Jan. 29 in Spokane, Wash., and then travel to Walla Walla, Wash., to take on Whitman on Saturday, Jan. 30. Both games are set to begin at 6 p.m. (PDT).

Previous Games

Willamette vs. Pacific Lutheran

Willamette fought its way to the Bearcats' first Northwest Conference win of the season against the Lutes, 64-49, on Friday, Jan. 22 at Cone Field House. The Bearcats have now won two of their last three games against Pacific Lutheran.

The Bearcats were led by Alex Zennan (Jr, G, Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) with 18 points, four assists and three steals. Junior post player Keilyn Fujioka (Kailua, HI/Iolani School) had a monster game inside. Fujioka earned 11 points and 14 rebounds. Erin Barclay (Jr, PG, Snohomish, WA/Bothell HS) added 13 points and six assists.

WU shot 50% from the field and held the Lutes to just 22.4% shooting. The Bearcats also managed to win the rebounding battle, 44-43.

Willamette at Pacific

The Bearcats stayed close to Pacific for most of the game before eventually falling, 62-47, in Forest Grove, Ore. on Saturday, Jan. 23. Willamette shot 35% from the field but Pacific was able to finish the game with 41% shooting. Both teams made 22 field goals.

The difference in the game proved to be free throws. While Pacific attacked the basket and forced the officials to call fouls, Willamette played a more passive style on offense. The Bearcats finished the game 0 for 5 at the free throw line. Pacific wound up with 17 points from the stripe on 17 of 23 shooting (73.9%).

Fujioka was the only Bearcat to score in double figures. The junior post had 18 points, seven rebounds and five blocked shots. Zennan added nine points and six rebounds.

This Weekend's Opponents

Whitworth University
Nickname: Pirates
Location: Spokane, Wash.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 13-12, 7-9 NWC
2009-10 Record: 8-9, 4-4 NWC
Last Meeting: Whitworth won, 56-46, on Jan 2, 2010 in Salem, Ore.

Whitworth is currently leading the conference in points scored per game (65.7). The Pirates use a balanced attack to beat opponents, with four Whitworth players averaging over eight points per game. Eleven players average over ten minutes of playing time per contest, making Whitworth one of the deeper teams in the NWC.

Willamette held a two-point lead at halftime against the Pirates, 21-19, earlier this season, before eventually losing by ten points. The Bearcats were unable to find the basket that night, shooting just 24.5% from the field. WU gave up one key run, a 17-0 scoring streak by the Pirates that decided the game.

To win in Spokane, the Bearcats will need to shoot better than 35% from the field. Willamette also will need to find a way to slow down the powerful Whitworth offense.

Whitman College
Nickname: Missionaries
Location: Walla Walla, Wash.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 18-8, 10-6 NWC
2009-10 Record: 7-10, 2-6 NWC
Last Meeting: Whitman won, 75-40, on Jan. 3 in Salem, Ore.

Whitman College made 14 of 29 three-point shots (48.3%) against the Bearcats on Jan. 3. Willamette struggled to find an offensive rhythm and could not keep up with the Missionaries.

After beating Willamette, Whitman went on a five-game losing streak. Their five loses were by a combined total of just 23 points, including three loses by three points or less. The Missionaries beat Linfield College on Jan. 23 for their second NWC victory.

In order to win the rematch, the Bearcats will have to minimize the open 3-point looks that the Whitman guards achieve. Willamette also will need to minimize turnovers. When Willamette takes care of the basketball and finds an offensive rhythm, the Bearcats are successful.

Bearcat Fast Breaks

* Keilyn Fujioka has recorded four double-doubles this season. She now has eight double-doubles in her career.

* Alex Zennan ranks 6th in the conference with 15.1 points per game.

* Point guard Erin Barclay has worked her way up to a tie for 3rd place in the conference in assists per game (3.67).

* As a team, Willamette ranks 2nd in the NWC in blocked shots per game (4.29).

* Zennan needs just eight 3-pointers in Willamette's eight remaining games to tie for third place in 3-point shots made in a single season in Willamette history (54). Zennan would tie former Bearcat Kelly (Sorenson) Ioane. Ioane is the wife of current men's basketball Head Coach Kip Ioane.

* The Northwest Conference has three teams receiving votes in the latest D3hoops.com national poll. George Fox University is ranked 7th and is currently 16-2 overall and 9-0 in the NWC. The University of Puget Sound is ranked 16th. The Loggers are 15-2 overall and 7-1 in the NWC. Lewis & Clark College received enough votes to fall into the "others receiving votes" category. The Pioneers are 12-5 on the season and 6-2 in the NWC.

LIVE WEBCAST

Willamette at Whitworth
Fri., Jan. 29, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.

Willamette at Whitman
Sat., Jan. 30, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.

WHITWORTH'S LIVE VIDEO
Keilyn Fujioka has earned four double-doubles in 2009-10 and has achieved eight double-doubles during her career.

Keilyn Fujioka has earned four double-doubles in 2009-10 and has achieved eight double-doubles during her career.

Alex Zennan needs eight 3-pointers to tie Willamette's single season record (54).

Alex Zennan needs eight 3-pointers to tie Willamette's single season record (54).