Bearcats Threaten Upset, but Oregon Tech Pulls Away Late

Josephson and Nordlien Each Score 10 Points for Willamette

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

SALEM, ORE. -- For much of the Willamette University women's basketball game on Saturday, Dec. 10 at Oregon Institute of Technology the Bearcats threatened to upset the Owls. Willamette, which entered the game at 1-7, held leads of 8-0 and 24-11 over Oregon Tech, which took a 10-1 record into the game. Willamette owned a 36-32 lead at halftime.

Oregon Tech took its first lead a bit over three minutes into the second half. Willamette regained the lead, but the Owls eventually tied the game at 45-45, with 11:42 left. OIT held a 57-53 lead with 7:00 on the clock, before closing the game with a 20-4 run to achieve the final score.

The Owls were led by Aundrea Albright, who achieved a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Karissa Dixon provided OIT with 13 points and nine boards, while Carrie Thibault chipped in 10 points.

Kassi Conditt, the Owls' tallest player at 6'2", scored nine points and added 10 rebounds in 14 minutes off the bench.

Rebecca Josephson (So., Wing, Fair Oaks, CA/Del Campo HS) and Katelyn Nordlien (Fr., Wing, Salem, OR/North Salem HS) tied for Willamette's scoring lead with 10 points apiece. Nordlien hit 5 of 11 field goals and grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

Kaileigh Westermann (Sr., F, Belfair, WA/South Kitsap HS) provided WU with eight points, five rebounds and three assists.

Freshman point guard Jojo DeLong (Santa Clarita, CA/Canyon HS) of Willamette led all players with seven assists. She also scored five points, grabbed two rebounds, blocked a shot and earned one steal.

Willamette shot a solid 46.2% (12 of 26) in the first half, but the Bearcats connected on just 25.0% of their shots (9 of 36) in the second half. The Bearcats hit 5 of 21 three-pointers (23.8%) and made 10 of 18 free throws.

The Owls shot 43.1% for the game (28 of 65), but managed just 38.5% (10 of 26) during the first 20 minutes.

Oregon Tech dominated the boards, earning a 56-36 rebounding edge. The Owls converted 4 of 11 three-pointers (36.4%) and sank 17 of 31 free throws.

The Bearcats surged out to an 8-0 lead in the first 1:50 of the game.

Westermann hit a jumper to open the scoring, while Maya McFaddin (Sr., Wing, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) put in a 3-pointer, Dora Rabih (Sr., F, Denver, CO/John F. Kennedy HS/Arizona Western Coll.) added a basket and Westermann hit 1 of 2 free throws.

After Beeson connected on two free throws at the 13:26 mark, the Bearcats led by 10 points, 17-7. Willamette's largest lead was 24-11 following a 3-pointer by DeLong with 9:35 left in the half.

OIT countered with a 9-0 run that cut the margin to 24-20 with 5:48 on the clock. Albright hit a jumper at 7:43 and sank two free throws at 6:21 to score four of the final five points during the run. Dixon completed the surge by hitting the first of two free throws.

Willamette managed to return the lead to double-digits, 33-23, at the 3:45 mark, but the Owls pulled within 36-32 on a free throw by Thibault with seven seconds to go.

Albright of Oregon Tech scored 13 points and earned eight rebounds in the second half. Her efforts on the glass helped the Owls gain a 33-19 rebounding edge in the final 20 minutes.

Dixon gave OIT its first lead of the game, 39-38, on a 3-pointer with 16:47 left. WU tallied the next four points on a pair of jump shots by Nordlien, and remained in front until Colleen Hunt tied the game for the Owls at 45-45 with a jumper at the 11:42 mark.

The Owls claimed a 55-51 lead when Morgan Hoffman made a free throw with 7:37 to go. Willamette added two free throws before Oregon Tech registered 16 unanswered points to take a 71-53 advantage with 3:51 remaining. Albright recorded seven points during the run.

OIT's rebounding total included 25 offensive boards, as the Owls used their height (three players at least 6'0" tall) to score 29 second-chance points. WU grabbed 15 offensive boards and earned eight second-chance points.

The Bearcats do not play again until Sunday, Dec. 18, when they will take on California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, Calif. Game time is set for 3:30 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

Oregon Tech 77
Willamette University 57

Kaileigh Westermann contributed eight points, five rebounds and three assists for Willamette.

Kaileigh Westermann contributed eight points, five rebounds and three assists for Willamette.