Willamette Surges Out in First Half, Down Lutes, 72-53

DeLong and Brand Lead Bearcats with 16 Points Each

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University took control against Pacific Lutheran University with a big first half, and the Bearcats remained comfortably in front the rest of the way for a 72-53 triumph over the visiting Lutes on Friday, Feb. 21 at Cone Field House.

In the first half, Willamette shot 44.4% from the field (12 of 27), hit five 3-pointers and made 20 of 22 free throws. Meanwhile, PLU was 8 of 24 (33.3%) in the first half on field goals, while converting 1 of 5 three-pointers and 10 of 13 free throws. The Bearcats led 49-27 at the break.

Julia Brand (Jr., F, Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School) and Jojo DeLong (Jr., PG, Santa Clarita, CA/Canyon HS) tied for the WU scoring lead, as each contributed 16 points. Brand also grabbed eight rebounds. DeLong provided four rebounds, four assists and four steals.

Katie Kalugin (Jr., G, Woodburn, OR/Woodburn HS) produced a double-double against the Lutes with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She also earned four assists and three steals.

Other Bearcats in double figures were Alexa Beeson (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) and Savanna Steele (Fr., PG, West Richland, WA/Hanford HS). Beeson tied her career-high with 12 points, while Steele garnered 10.

Samantha Potter of Pacific Lutheran finished with a team-high 14 points to go along with seven rebounds, three blocked shots and two steals. Katelyn Smith recorded a double-double by achieving 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Beeson sank a 3-pointer for the game's first basket 44 seconds after the tipoff. The shot opened a 16-8 run to give Willamette an eight-point lead with 14:23 on the clock. The run also included a traditional three-point play by Kalugin plus six points from Brand.

PLU added a free throw before WU outscored the Lutes 11-4 to extend the lead to 27-13. Keying Willamette's scoring outburst were DeLong, who hit a pair of 3-pointers, and Beeson, who completed the run with a shot from long range with 10:04 left in the half.

The Lutes cut the score to 27-18 on a 3-point basket by Megan Abdo and two free throws by Andrea Adams, but the Bearcats replied with a 7-2 surge for a 34-20 advantage. DeLong and Brand each connected on a pair of free throws, while Daena Mau (Jr., G, Aiea, HI/Punahou School) finished the run with a 3-point shot.

Willamette held a 39-27 margin with 3:02 remaining in the first half after Potter hit a layup. The Bearcats held PLU scoreless for the remainder of the half, as WU put together a 10-0 run. The scoring streak included 8 for 9 free throw shooting and a layup by DeLong, leaving the Bearcats in front by 22 points at the break.

WU's offense slipped a bit in the second half, with the Lutes claming a 26-23 scoring edge. Even so, PLU trailed by 28 points at 57-29 with 13:59 to go and never got closer than 18 points.

The Bearcats shot 33.3% for the game (18 of 54), including 7 for 23 on 3-point shots. Willamette converted 29 of 37 free throws (78.4%) with five of the missed shots in the final 1:04 of the game. WU attained a 41-39 rebounding edge and forced PLU into 22 turnovers, while the Bearcats lost the ball 15 times.

Pacific Lutheran finished with 34.0% field goal shooting (18 of 53), but went just 1 for 9 from 3-point distance. The Lutes were 16 of 23 (69.6%) at the free throw line.

Willamette will close out the season on Saturday, Feb. 22 at George Fox University. Game time in Newberg, Ore., is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 72
Pacific Lutheran University 53

Post-game Interview

Photo Gallery (Photos by Naomi Stukey, Photographer for Willamette Athletics)

Katie Kalugin achieved a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She also earned four assists and three steals.

Katie Kalugin achieved a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds. She also earned four assists and three steals.