Women's Basketball Game Night: WU Hopes to Finish Strong

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Bearcats of Willamette University will conclude the 2009-10 season against Pacific Lutheran University and Pacific University in a pair of Northwest Conference games this weekend. WU travels to PLU on Friday, Feb. 19 to take on the Lutes. Willamette returns to Cone Field House on Saturday, Feb. 20 to close out the season against Pacific. Both games are set to begin at 6 p.m. (PST). The Bearcats will honor senior Nicki Clowdsley (P, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) before the final game of her career on Saturday.

Previous Game

Willamette vs. George Fox University

Willamette lost to George Fox University, 84-42, on Friday, Feb. 12. George Fox connected on 15 of 32 three-point shots en route to the victory.

GFU, ranked #5 in NCAA Division III, was led by B.B. Gardner with 14 points, while Elise Kuenzi added 13 points. Keisha Gordon earned 10 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

For Willamette, Keilyn Fujioka (Jr., Post, Kailua, HI/Iolani School) scored 14 points and was 7 of 15 from the field. Kaileigh Westermann (So., F, Belfair, WA/South Kitsap HS) finished with seven points and 11 rebounds for the Bearcats.

Sophie Wilson (Fr., Guard, Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS) continued to show improvement for the Bearcats. Wilson scored seven points against the Bruins. She has recorded 21 points in the past three games.

The Bruins, who have now won 16 straight games against the Bearcats, moved within one win of clinching at least a share of their fourth straight Northwest Conference women's basketball championship. GFU defeated Linfield College one night later (Feb. 13) to claim at least a tie for the title.

This Week's Opponents

Pacific Lutheran University
Nickname: Lutes
Location: Tacoma, Wash.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 14-11, 8-8 NWC (5th place)
2009-10 Record: 7-16, 5-9 NWC (6th place)
Last Meeting: WU won, 64-49 on Jan. 22 in Salem, Ore.

Willamette defeated the Lutes, 64-49, when the teams played each other earlier this season. The Bearcats received strong offensive performances from five of their players. Junior Alex Zennan (G, Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) led the way with 18 points. Point guard Erin Barclay (Jr., Snohomish, WA/Bothell HS) added 13 points and Fujioka contributed 11 points.

Westermann and Maya McFaddin (So., G, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) each had eight points and six rebounds.

As a team, Willamette had its best shooting performance of the entire season. The Bearcats finished the game with 50% field goal shooting (25 of 50).

In order to beat the Lutes for the second time this season, Willamette will need to have another strong offensive performance. The Bearcats must limit turnovers and create opportunities for second-chance points by grabbing some offensive rebounds.

Pacific University
Nickname: Boxers
Location: Forest Grove, Ore.
Affiliations: NCAA Division III, Northwest Conference
2008-09 Record: 11-14, 10-6 NWC (3rd place tie)
2009-10 Record: 6-15, 3-11 NWC (8th place)
Last Meeting: Pacific won 62-47 on Jan. 23 in Forest Grove, Ore.

Willamette battled Pacific for most of the game during their first meeting this season before eventually falling, 62-47. Each team made the same number of field goals (22) but the Boxers gained a significant edge in the free throw category.

WU was led by Fujioka, who scored 18 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Fujioka also swatted away five Boxer shot attempts during the game.

Free throws and turnovers will be a significant factor in the rematch. Willamette must find a way to attack the basket and create an opportunity to score points at the free throw line. As usual, the the Bearcats must take care of the basketball.

Pacific is led by senior Rochell Reeves-Howe and sophomore Julianne Erbe. Reeves-Howe has averaged 14.3 points per game, while Erbe has provided 13.0 points and 6.8 rebounds per contest. The Boxers have lost their last six games.

Bearcat Fast Breaks

* Alex Zennan ranks 6th in the Northwest Conference in scoring with 14.0 points per game.

* Keilyn Fujioka ranks 3rd in the conference with 8.1 rebounds per game.

* As a team, Willamette ranks 2nd in the NWC in blocked shots per game (4.22).

* Zennan has made 57 three-point shots this season, good for third place in Willamette history for 3-point shots made in a single season. Zennan needs to make six more 3-point shots in the two remaining games to tie for second place (63).

* The Northwest Conference has two teams in the latest D3hoops.com Top 25. George Fox is ranked 5th and is currently 21-2 overall and 14-0 in the NWC. Puget Sound is ranked 15th. The Loggers are 20-3 overall and 12-2 in the NWC.

Willamette at Pacific Lutheran
Friday., Feb. 19, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.

Willamette vs. Pacific
Friday., Feb. 20, 2010 at 5:45 p.m.
Nicki Clowdsley will play in her final college basketball games for the Bearcats this weekend.

Nicki Clowdsley will play in her final college basketball games for the Bearcats this weekend.