Puget Sound Survives against Bearcats, 69-63

Zennan Earns 21 Points, 5 Boards, 5 Steals for WU

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University led the University of Puget Sound 63-62 with 2:55 remaining, but the Bearcats were unable to pull off the upset, as the Loggers rallied for a 69-63 win at Cone Field House on Saturday, Jan. 29.

Puget Sound, which received points but was not ranked in this week's D3hoops.com Poll and WBCA Coaches Poll, improved to 15-4 overall, 8-2 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette fell to 2-15 overall, 1-9 in the NWC.

It was a solid performance by the Bearcats that almost resulted in a big victory.

Willamette started the game with a strong defensive effort. Puget Sound missed its first 10 shots and connected on just 20% of its field goals (7 of 35) during the first half. The Loggers maintained the lead for most of the period by sinking 15 of 17 free throws.

Meanwhile, Willamette hit 11 of 24 field goals (45.8%) in the first half to stay close to the Loggers, but made just 2 of 6 free throws.

WU trailed 10-5, but the Bearcats rallied to take a 17-16 lead at the 6:42 mark on a layup by Andrea Harris (Jr., F, Halsey, OR/Central Linn HS/Chemeketa CC). Breanne Faehnrich (Fr., G, Newcastle, WA/Liberty HS) added a jump shot on WU's next possession to increase the margin to three points.

Puget Sound scored five consecutive points, all at the free throw line, to move in front, 21-19. The 5-0 spurt started a 16-7 run to end the opening period for the Loggers.

Alex Zennan (Sr., G, Sammamish, WA/Eastlake HS) led WU with nine points at the half. Jocelyn Riordan of UPS also scored nine points during the half.

A layup by Lindsay Layland and a 3-pointer from Taylor Jones gave Puget Sound a 37-26 margin less than 1:30 into the second half. The Loggers took a 44-31 lead on another 3-pointer by Jones at the 15:16 mark, and eventually extended their advantage to 49-35 with 13:53 to play.

WU pushed the deficit back to a single digit, 50-41, on a layup by Harris with 12:00 remaining. UPS tallied the next two points, but the Bearcats countered with a 9-0 run to pull within 52-50 at the 8:27 mark.

The Bearcats reduced the difference to a single point at 55-54, on a layup by Harris with 7:00 left on the clock. The Loggers responded with 7-2 run to increase the lead to six points, 62-56.

Willamette answered with seven straight points to take the lead. Kaileigh Westermann (Jr., F, Belfair, WA/South Kitsap HS) completed the surge with a layup assisted by Zennan with 2:55 to go.

Puget Sound kept WU off the scoreboard the rest of the way. Kelsey McKinnis hit two free throws with 2:22 left to put the Loggers in front, 64-63. Willamette missed two jumpers and a 3-pointer on the ensuing possession, before Sarah Stewart provided a 3-pointer for Puget Sound at the 1:17 mark. McKinnis ended the scoring when she sank two charity shots with 34 seconds remaining.

Zennan finished with 21 points for the Bearcats. She also recorded five rebounds, five steals and three assists. Westermann supplied 13 points and eight boards, while Erin Barclay (Sr., G, Snohomish, WA/Bothell HS) contributed 11 points and seven rebounds.

Barclay netted 6 of 8 free throws and Zennan went 4 for 4 at the line, but the Bearcats sank only 11 of 20 free throws overall.

WU was 24 of 62 on field goals (38.7%), while UPS was 27.4% from the field (17 of 62). The Loggers made a solid 29 of 39 free throws (74.4%).

Jones topped Puget Sound with 16 points and was 4 for 8 shooting, including 3 for 5 on 3-pointers. McKinnis attained 16 points while converting 13 of 15 free throws. She also achieved a game-high six assists.

Riordan added 13 points and seven boards for UPS, while Layland earned 14 rebounds, helping the Loggers claim a 47-43 rebounding margin. Stewart claimed nine boards and blocked two shots.

Willamette will play at Linfield College on Friday, Feb. 4. Tipoff is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST) in McMinnville, Ore.

BOX SCORE
University of Puget Sound 69
Willamette University 63
Alex Zennan scored 21 points, including three 3-pointers against the Loggers.

Alex Zennan scored 21 points, including three 3-pointers against the Loggers.