Willamette is Ninth in Northwest Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Poll

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

SALEM, ORE. -- The Willamette University women's basketball team has been picked to finish ninth in the 2011-12 Northwest Conference Women's Basketball Preseason Poll, according to votes cast by the NWC's head coaches. George Fox University was predicted to win its sixth consecutive outright or shared NWC championship.

George Fox received seven of the nine first place votes and 70 points in the poll. The Bruins were 25-6 overall last season and tied Lewis & Clark College for first place in the NWC at 14-2. Lewis & Clark was listed second in the Preseason Poll with the two remaining first place votes and 59 points. The Pioneers were 21-7 overall in 2010-11.

After going 18-8 a year ago, including 11-5 in the NWC the University of Puget Sound held third place in the poll with 46 points,  Whitman College followed in fourth with 44 points on the strength of a 15-11 overall record and a 9-7 conference record last year. Whitworth University was fifth with 35 points after the Pirates concluded last season at 11-14, 7-9 in the NWC.

Linfield (13-11, 8-8 NWC) was sixth in the poll with 34 points, while Pacific Lutheran University (6-18, 4-12 NWC) was seventh with 20 points. Pacific University (7-18, 3-313 NWC) was listed eighth with 16 points and Willamette (3-20, 2-14 NWC) was ninth with nine points.

Willamette's top returning scorer is senior forward Kaileigh Westermann (Belfair, WA/South Kitsap HS), who tallied 11.4 points per game last season. Westermann earned a team-high 9.0 rebounds per game to rank third in the NWC.

MacKenzie Lamson (So., Wing, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) averaged 5.3 points per game as a freshman in 2010-11. She saw action in 21 of 23 games with two starts. Maya McFaddin (Sr., Wing, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) earned 4.0 points per contest for the Bearcats last year.

The Bearcats will open the season on Friday, Nov. 18, when they host Concordia University (Ore.) at Cone Field House. Tip-off is set for 7 p.m. (PST).

NWC Women's Basketball Preseason Poll (1st place votes in parentheses)
1. George Fox (7), 70 points, 25-6 overall, 14-2 NWC in 2010-11
2. Lewis & Clark (2), 59 points, 21-7, 14-2 NWC
3. Puget Sound, 46 points, 18-8, 11-5 NWC
4. Whitman, 44 points, 15-11, 9-7 NWC
5. Whitworth, 35 points, 11-14, 7-9 NWC
6. Linfield, 34 points, 13-11, 8-8 NWC
7. Pacific Lutheran, 20 points, 6-18, 4-12 NWC
8. Pacific, 16 points, 7-18, 3-13 NWC
9. Willamette, 9 points, 3-20, 2-14 NWC

Note: Points were awarded on an 9-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 basis. Each coach was not allowed to vote for his/her own team.

Kaileigh Westermann averaged 11.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in 2010-11.

Kaileigh Westermann averaged 11.4 points and 9.0 rebounds per game in 2010-11.