By Jarin Kobashigawa
Last Tuesday, the Bearcats came out on top against rival, Linfield 66-63. This win allowed Willamette to sweep the season series. Leading the team for the Bearcats was junior Britanny Kochenderfer who scored a career-high 22 points which included six three pointers. Kochenderfer was six for seven in her three point attempts.
In the first quarter the Bearcats held a steady lead which was only threatened a few times by the Wildcats. As halftime approached, Kylie Towry made a layup before the Wildcats scored five unanswered points to finish the half. Quickly in the third quarter, the Bearcats earned seven points on a layup by senior Mary Eckenrode and jumper and three-pointer by Kochenderfer. Linfield ended the third with another five unanswered points, but it barely made a difference in the lead.
With 1:37 remaining in the fourth quarter, Linfield was able to make a comeback and get within three points of Willamette, 61-58. With 27 seconds left the difference was still three points but the score increased to 63-60 until, with 15 seconds left, Towry hit a free throw to improve the lead to four points. Linfield hit a three pointer with eight seconds left but Towry answered back with two free throws to secure the win. Towry recorded 21 points and is within one point of the school record for career points, held by Jenny Joseph (93’-97’). Senior Ashley Evans contributed nine points and had three three pointers. Sophomore Elizabeth Logsdon and senior Celine Gregoire tied with seven rebounds each.
On Friday, the Bearcats played Puget Sound, but slipped to them 68-52. In this game, Towry scored only six points for the Bearcats but was able to break Willamette’s record for career points. The record was broken after Towry sank two free throws with 5:38 left in the first quarter. During this season Towry has managed a 17.2 average of points per game.
During the first quarter of regulation, the Bearcats and Loggers kept the game close, exchanging the lead a few times, before the Loggers surged forward on a 10-2 run to take the lead 18-11. The Bearcats were able to cut the lead to 20-18 in the second quarter, but the Loggers persisted to regain a 10-point lead. During the third quarter, the Bearcats came back to take their first lead since the first quarter. On efforts by Kochenderfer, Evans and Eckenrode the Bearcats held a two-point lead 40-38.
In the fourth quarter, the Loggers and Bearcats exchanged the lead. With 3:23 the Loggers held the lead 50-53, but after this the Loggers propelled to go on a 15-2 run to complete the game 52-68. Kochenderfer had 15 points and tied Gregoire for six rebounds each. Evans had 13 points which consisted of three 3-pointers. Logsdon, Evans and Towry all had four rebounds. Puget Sound improved to 10-10 on the season and 5-6 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 12-9 on the season and 8-4 in the NWC. The Bearcats will take on Pacific University in Forest Grove, Oregon on Friday, Feb. 9 at 6 p.m.