Willamette Rally Falls Just Short Against Linfield

DeLong Scores 23 Points, Kalugin Notches Double-Double

By Timothy Walsh, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- Jojo DeLong (Jr., PG, Santa Clarita, CA/Canyon HS) gave Willamette University a 58-57 lead on a 3-pointer with 1:52 remaining, but Taylor Solomon hit a 3-pointer for Linfield College with 1:16 left, and the Wildcats held on for a 60-58 win in a Northwest Conference women's basketball game on Friday, Jan. 10 at Cone Field House.

Linfield improved to 5-7 on the year, 1-2 in the NWC. Willamette dropped to 3-10 this season, 1-3 in NWC play.

DeLong led all players with 23 points on 7 of 16 shooting, including 5 of 10 from beyond the three-point line. She also registered four steals and three assists while playing nearly the entire game.

Katie Kalugin (Jr., G, Woodburn, OR/Woodburn HS) added a double-double for Willamette, scoring 13 points while hauling down 11 rebounds. Daena Mau (Jr., G, Aiea, HI/Punahou School) contributed 11 points.

The Wildcats placed four of their five starters in double figures, led by Kaely Maltman's 13 points and 14 rebounds. Taylor Solomon scored 11 points for Linfield, while Quincey Gibson and Katelyn Henson each added 10.

The Bearcats suffered a serious blow less than a minute into the game, when Rebecca Josephson (Sr., G, Fair Oaks, CA/Del Campo HS) collapsed to the ground after suffering an apparent knee injury.

Josephson, who has started 12 of Willamette's 13 games this year, while averaging a career-high 10.8 points and a team-leading 6.8 rebounds per game, was helped off the floor and did not return.

Both teams struggled to score early, though the Wildcats opened up a double-digit lead on a layup from Maltman with 5:24 remaining in the first half.

The advantage stretched to 11 points on a jumper from Gibson with 2:58 remaining, but the Bearcats rallied behind a layup from Kalugin, a three-pointer from Mau, and a jumper by Savanna Steele (Fr., PG, West Richland, WA/Hanford HS), closing the gap to 32-26 at halftime.

Linfield opened the second half firing, with Gibson's three-pointer pushing the Wildcats' lead to nine points at the 19:23 mark. Another layup from Maltman gave Linfield an 11 point lead with 13:28 remaining.

But the Bearcats slowly chipped away, cutting the deficit to five on a layup from Alexa Beeson (Sr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) with 10:58 left, to four on a Kalugin free throw at the 7:57 mark, to three on a long distance shot from DeLong with 7:05 remaining, and finally tied the game on another DeLong three with just 2:41 to go.

After a Maltman layup briefly restored the Wildcats' advantage with 2:07 on the clock, DeLong fired in her fifth three-pointer of the evening, giving Willamette a 58-57 edge with 1:52 left -- the Bearcats' first lead of the game.

The lead was short-lived, however, as Solomon connected on a three of her own to provide the game's final score.

Willamette had one last chance to tie after Gibson missed the front end of a one-and-one with 16 seconds remaining. With three seconds left, a jumper from Julia Brand (Jr., F, Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School) fell off the backboard and rim. Brand managed to corral the rebound, but she was unable to get a second shot off in time.

Linfield's defense held the Bearcats to 28.4% shooting (21 of 74) during the game, including just 8 of 35 (22.9%) on three-pointers. Although the Wildcats managed to shoot 24 of 49 (49.0%) from the floor, WU did force Linfield into 18 turnovers, including nine steals. The Bearcats committed five turnovers.

Linfield earned an edge in rebounding (46-38), but Willamette performed better from the foul line, sinking 8 of 11 attempts (72.9%) to the Wildcats' 7 of 15 (46.7%).

After opening NWC play with four home games, the Bearcats will hit the road for the first time in nearly a month, visiting the University of Puget Sound on Friday, Jan. 17. Tipoff in Tacoma, Wash., is slated for 6 p.m.

BOX SCORE

Linfield College 60
Willamette University 58

Post-game Interviews

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

Jojo Delong scored 23 points to lead all players. She also achieved four steals and three assists.

Jojo Delong scored 23 points to lead all players. She also achieved four steals and three assists.