Linfield Holds Off Bearcats, 69-55, after Wildcats Build Big Lead in First Half

Westermann Earns 14 Points, 8 Rebounds, 4 Assists for Willamette

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Linfield College built a 40-14 lead in the first half and then held off a rally by Willamette University, as the Wildcats defeated the Bearcats, 69-55, at Cone Field House on Friday, Feb. 3. The Wildcats shot 46.2% in the first half (12 of 26), while hitting 15 of 19 free throws (78.9%).

Linfield also limited Willamette to 20.6% shooting in the first half (7 of 34) and held the Bearcats without a free throw attempt over the first 20 minutes.

The Bearcats responded by increasing their level of intensity in the second half. The extra effort, coupled with improved play, enabled Willamette to outscore the Wildcats, 41-29, in the second half. The Bearcats, however, were unable to overcome their 26-point halftime deficit.

Linfield evened its overall record at 10-10 on the season, 4-7 in the Northwest Conference. Willamette dropped to 1-19 overall, 0-11 in the NWC.

Gretchen Owens of Linfield led all players with 20 points and 14 rebounds. She hit 8 of 16 field goals and made 3 of 4 free throws. Owens also provided the Wildcats with five assists and two steals.

Also reaching double figures for the Wildcats were Katelyn Henson and Kaely Maltman. Henson finished with 17 points, while Maltman achieved 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Alex Christensen put in eight points, went 4 for 5 on field goals and supplied three assists.

Kaileigh Westermann topped Willamette with 14 points and eight rebounds. She was 4 of 9 on field goals and went 6 for 7 at the free throw line. Westermann also earned a team-high four assists.

Sophie Wilson (Jr., G, Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS) contributed 10 points for the Bearcats. She hit 4 of 9 field goals, including 2 of 5 three-point attempts. Dorah Rabih (Sr., F, Denver, CO/John F. Kennedy HS/Arizona Western College) tallied eight points, five rebounds and two assists.

The teams were tied, 4-4, four minutes into the game, and the Wildcats held just a 9-6 lead at the 14:53 mark of the first half. Linfield scored the next seven points to open a 13-4 run that gave the visitors a 22-10 advantage. Henson scored Linfield's final six points during the run including jump shots with 10:19 and 9:20 on the clock, plus a pair of free throws with 8:27 to go.

Each team added a basket before Julia Brand (Fr., Wing, Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School) put in a layup for Willamette with 6:02 remaining to pull the Bearcats within 24-14. Brand's layup provided Willamette's final points of the half, as Linfield closed out the opening period with a 16-0 runs. Owens and Maltman each achieved four points during the run.

At the break, Henson led the Wildcats with 13 points. Owens chipped in an additional 10 points.

Willamette played a much more aggressive and successful game in the second half. The Bearcats improved to 42.4% shooting (14 of 33) over the final 20 minutes, while converting 11 of 13 free throws. In addition, WU forced Linfield into 10 turnovers in the second half, while the Bearcats lost the ball just six times. Both teams had 15 turnovers overall.

Westermann and Wilson each scored all of their points after the halftime intermission when both players went 4 for 7 from the field.

The Bearcats brought the lead under 20 points at 50-31 when Wilson hit a 3-pointer with 12:33 remaining. Linfield scored the next four points, but WU eventually pulled within 60-43 on a layup by Daena Mau (Fr., Wing, Aiea, HI/Punahou School) with 3:17 remaining.

Willamette got as close as 14 points twice in the final minute, at 67-53 on a 3-pointer by Wilson with 40 seconds to go, and again when Breanne Faehnrich (So., PG, Newcastle, WA/Liberty HS) scored the game's final basket at the buzzer.

Linfield finished the game 24 of 52 on field goals (46.2%). The Wildcats made 1 of 3 three-pointers and hit 20 of 27 free throws (74.1%). LC was 5 of 8 at the line in the second half.

Willamette shot 31.3% overall (21 of 67) and made just 2 of 15 three-pointers (84.6%). Linfield claimed a 41-37 rebounding margin, although Willamette had more offensive rebounds (10 to 4).

The Bearcats will return to action on Saturday, Feb. 4 in a Northwest Conference game at Pacific University in Forest Grove, Ore. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

Linfield College 69
Willamette University 55

Kaileigh Westermann put together a solid game with 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists.

Kaileigh Westermann put together a solid game with 14 points, eight rebounds and four assists.