By Jarin Kobashigawa
Over winter break, the women’s basketball team took a trip to Honolulu, Hawaii to participate in the Hoop N Surf Classic. They fell short to the Thomas More Saints and Christopher Newport, however, the beauty of Hawaii proved to be a nice escape for some relaxation and beach time. After returning from Hawaii, they went on a five-game win streak, which improved to a six-game win streak on Friday. Kylie Towry scored 24 points, which was a game high, and Mary Eckenrode also provided 21 points to assist the Bearcats in their 2-point victory over Whitworth.
The first half consisted of numerous ties and lead changes. Going into the second half the Bearcats led the game 40-35, and then added seven more points to begin the third quarter.
At the end of the quarter, the Pirates allowed a 10-2 run to make the score 63-47. Late in the 4th quarter, the Pirates moved in range of the Bearcats and threatened to take the lead. With 2:08 remaining, a three-pointer allowed the Pirates to take the lead at 71-70, but Towry and Kochenderfer answered back with two free throws each.
It was the timely free throws that edged the Bearcats past the Pirates. Towry is 75 points in range of the school record of 1,309 set by Jenny Joseph a 1997 graduate. Another big contributor was Eckenrode, who had 21 points, five rebounds and two assists. Evans tacked on 13 points and Kochenderfer had 12 points with seven rebounds and five assists. Whitworth fell to 6-10 overall, and 1-6 in the Northwest Conference.
On Saturday, the Bearcats hosted the nationally-ranked and undefeated Whitman College, who is sixth in the nation according to D3hoops.com. In the first quarter, the teams were an even match, there were four ties and eight lead changes. At the end of the quarter, the Blues led 19-21. Contributing for the Bearcats were Towry, Evans and Kochenderfer. To begin the second quarter, Farmer hit a 3-pointer, but the Blues answered back with six consecutive points. To end the quarter, Whitman went on a 6-1 run, 29-34. In the third quarter, Whitman began to break away from the Bearcats. An 8-3 run and continuous efforts of the Blues caused them to take a substantial lead heading into the final quarter, 38-52. To end the game the Bearcats gave up a 12-4 run, this is the first lost for the Bearcats in the past seven games. The Bearcats shot about 38 percent and converted on five of 18 three-pointers. Whitman was only successful on one attempt from the three-point line but shot 45 percent collectively. The Bearcats had 16 turnovers compared to the Blues who only had eight. Towry extended her school career record to 270 three-point shots and is now within 59 points of the record for most career points at Willamette. She is averaging 16.8 points per game this year. Other big contributors this game was Celine Gregoire who had 10 points and six rebounds. Kochenderfer had eight points and also had six rebounds. Whitman is now 8-0 in the NWC and 16-1 overall. The Bearcats fell to 10-7 overall and 6-2 in the NWC. The Bearcats will take on George Fox University next on Friday, Jan. 26 in Newberg, Oregon and will begin at 6 p.m. (PST).