Pirates Excel on the Boards to Down Willamette in Women's Basketball

Mau Leads Bearcats with 12 Points, DeLong Adds 11

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

SALEM, ORE. -- Willamette University held a 20-17 lead with 7:26 left in the first half, but Whitworth University ended the period with a 20-2 run and went on to defeat the Bearcats, 76-50, at Cone Field House on Saturday, Jan. 4. The Pirates grabbed 21 offensive rebounds during the game and finished with a 49-33 advantage on the boards.

Whitworth led 37-22 at the break. Willamette outscored the Pirates 8-7 in the first 4:01 of the second half, but Kendra Lahue hit a layup and added a free throw for Whitworth on the next possession. The three-point play by Lahue started a 6-0 run that gave the Pirates a 50-30 lead with 15:03 left.

The Pirates increased the lead to 55-32 after two free throws by Alexis McLeod at the 10:19 mark. Whitworth led by 20 or more points the rest of the way.

KC McConnell provided Whitworth with 21 points and 10 rebounds. She was 6 of 13 from the field, hit two 3-pointers and was 7 for 7 at the free throw line. Lexie Zappone scored 12 points for the Pirates, while Kayla Johnson earned 11 points and 10 rebounds. Lahue finished with 10 points and seven boards.

Willamette's top scorer was Daena Mau (Jr., G, Aiea, HI/Punahou School), who hit 5 of 8 field goals, including two 3-pointers, on her way to 12 points. Jojo DeLong (Jr., PG, Santa Clarita, CA/Canyon HS) supplied the Bearcats with 11 points and made a trio of 3-point shots.

Rebecca Josephson (Sr., G, Fair Oaks, CA/Del Campo HS) scored eight points for WU. She also grabbed a team-high seven rebounds.

DeLong scored the first basket of the game on a 3-pointer during Willamette's opening possession. Whitworth earned the next six points and later held a 9-6 lead. The Bearcats surged in front with a 7-0 run that featured a layup by Alex Wert (Fr., F, Spokane, WA/St. George's HS) a go-ahead 3-pointer by DeLong and a jumper by Josephson.

A 3-pointer by Kendra Knutsen of Whitworth cut the Bearcats' lead to 13-11 at the 11:58 mark, but DeLong and Katie Kalugin (Jr., G, Woodburn, OR/Woodburn HS) added jump shots to give Willamette a 17-12 margin with 10:29 on the clock.

Whitworth used a 5-1 run to pull within a single point before Kalugin put in a basket to gave Willamette a 20-17 lead. The Pirates registered the next eight points to move into a 25-20 lead. Another basket by Kalugin with 3:53 on the clock stemmed the rally for a moment, but Whitworth added 12 more unanswered points to end the half.

The 20-2 run included seven points by McConnell and five points by Lahue. Johnson scored just two points during the run, but led all scorers with nine points at the break. Willamette's leading scorer at halftime was DeLong with eight points.

Willamette and Whitworth finished the game with similar shooting percentages, but the Bearcats couldn't overcome the advantage gained by the Pirates on the boards. In addition, Whitworth shot 17 more free throws than Willamette and forced the Bearcats into 22 turnovers.

The Pirates hit 26 of 71 field goals (36.6%) and made 6 of 21 three-pointers (28.6%). They converted 18 of 26 free throws (69.2%). The Bearcats connected on 19 of 52 field goals (36.5%), while sinking 6 of 20 three-point shots (30.0%) and making 6 of 9 free throws.

Willamette will play at home again on Tuesday, Jan. 7, when the Bearcats host Pacific University. The NWC match-up will get underway at 6 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

Whitworth University 76
Willamette University 50

Photo gallery (Photos by Naomi Stukey, photographer for Willamette Athletics)

Daena Mau led Willamette with 12 points. She was 5 of 8 on field goals, including a pair of 3-point shots.

Daena Mau led Willamette with 12 points. She was 5 of 8 on field goals, including a pair of 3-point shots.