La Verne Rallies to Upend Willamette 68-65 in Season Opener

Kalugin and Towry Score 14 Points apiece to lead Bearcats

By Brandon Chinn, Student Assistant Athletics Communications Director

PORTLAND, ORE. -- The Bearcats took a late lead with 1:40 remaining in regulation, but the University of La Verne connected on four free throws to take a lead it wouldn't relinquish, spoiling Willamette University's season opener, 68-65, on Friday, Nov. 15.

With this game serving as the season opener for both teams, Willamette fell to 0-1, while La Verne moved to 1-0. The game also opened the first round of the Bon Appetit Tournament, hosted by Lewis & Clark College. In Friday's second game, SUNY Geneseo edged past Lewis & Clark, 63-62.

Katie Kalugin (Jr., G, Woodburn Ore./Woodburn HS) and Kylie Towry (Fr., G, Medford, Ore./South Medford HS) paced Willamette with 14 points apiece, while Jojo DeLong (Jr., PG, Santa Clarita, Calif./Canyon HS) and Rebecca Josephson (Sr., G, Fair Oaks, Calif./Del Campo HS) each tallied 12.

Lindsey Foster recorded a double-double to lead La Verne, posting 20 points and 13 rebounds in the victory.

La Verne jumped out to an early lead, scoring 10 of the game's first 14 points. Three-pointers by Kalugin and DeLong sparked a 12-4 run by the 'Cats, who took a 31-30 lead into the half after Josephson made a lay-up with two seconds remaining.

Tied at 40 early in the second half, Willamette utilized threes by Daena Mau (Jr., G, Aiea, Hawaii/Punahou School) and DeLong to extend its lead to 50-43 with 11:57 remaining. The Leopards responded, outscoring WU 9-3 run over the next three minutes of play.

Holding a small lead, Julia Brand connected with a jump shot to extend the lead to five at 58-53, but La Verne stayed close, preventing WU from pulling away.

The game was tied at 64-64 with 1:40 remaining, before the Bearcats pulled in front on a free throw by DeLong. But four late fouls by Willamette presented La Verne with six free throw attempts in the final minute and a half.

La Verne converted four of those attempts to pull in front for good en route to the 68-65 victory.

The Bearcats return to action tomorrow night (Sat., Nov. 16) against SUNY Geneseo in their second game of the Bon Appetit Tournament. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

University of La Verne 68
Willamette University 65

Junior point guard Jojo DeLong scored 12 points and dished out seven assists in the team's season-opening game against La Verne.

Junior point guard Jojo DeLong scored 12 points and dished out seven assists in the team's season-opening game against La Verne.