St. Mary's (Minn.) Goes on 13-0 Run in Closing Minutes to Defeat Willamette, 56-43, at Bon Appetit Classic

PORTLAND, ORE. -- St. Mary’s University (Minn.) went on a 13-0 run from the 3:00 mark in the second half until four seconds remaining to extend a two-point lead into a 56-43 victory over Willamette University in the first round of the Bon Appetit Classic, on Friday, Nov. 17 at Lewis & Clark College. Willamette, 0-1, will conclude the tournament against Wartburg College on Saturday, Nov. 18 at 4 p.m. (PST). St. Mary’s will take on Lewis & Clark on Saturday at 6 p.m. (PST). In the other first round game, Lewis & Clark defeated Wartburg, 74-59.
Willamette shot just 27.4% (17 of 62) during the game against St. Mary’s, but stayed in the contest until the closing minutes by grabbing 18 offensive rebounds. The Bearcats trailed by just three points at halftime, 25-22, and pulled within one point two times in the second half.

WU scored six of the first 10 points in the second half to cut the lead to 29-28 with 13:19 remaining. Just under two minutes later, at the 11:36 mark, Selena Levy (So., G, San Anselmo, CA/Sir Francis Drake HS) hit a jump shot for Willamette to cut the lead to 31-30.

St. Mary’s responded with a 7-0 run to take a 38-30 lead with 10:11 to go. The Bearcats rallied over the next few minutes, as they put together a 9-3 run to reduce the lead for the Cardinals to 41-39 with 3:54 left. WU’s run included a 3-pointer by Maggie Wilkens (Fr., G, Seattle, WA/Lakeside HS) and ended with four points from Keilyn Fujioka (Fr., F, Kailua, HI/Iolani HS), on a jumper with 4:03 left, followed by two free throws after St. Mary’s committed a turnover.

Jessica Weisbrod put in a layup for the Cardinals with 3:20 remaining, but Wilkens made a jumper 12 seconds later to pull Willamette back within a single basket at 43-41. St. Mary’s then started its decisive run, with Amy Saufferer sinking two free throws at the 3:00 mark and Nicholle Hanson adding a 3-pointer with 2:55 left after stealing the Bearcats’ in-bounds pass. The quick 5-0 run gave SMU a 48-41 lead.

Neither team scored over the next minute and a half, as Willamette missed five shots and St. Mary’s committed one turnover. The turnover, charged to Alyse Coates, occurred with 2:01 on the clock, but the Cardinals didn’t get the ball back until Willamette took three shots and recorded two offensive rebounds. The third rebound was grabbed by Weisbrod with 1:19 left. Kelly Tanke scored for St. Mary’s on a jumper six second later, as the lead moved to 50-41.

St. Mary’s tacked on six points in the final 28 seconds, as the Cardinals extended their run to 13-0. Willamette scored its only points of the final three minutes when Laura Payne (Jr., G, Sammamish, WA/Skyline HS) sank a jump shot at the buzzer.

In the first half, Willamette led by as many as six points at 22-16 following a 3-pointer by Rebekah Wells (Jr., G, Bothel, WA/Edmonds-Woodway HS) to complete a 7-1 offensive surge with 4:15 left in the period. The Cardinals answered with a 9-0 run to end the half.

Willamette finished without a single player in double digits, but five Bearcats scored seven or more points. Wells and Wilkens led the way with nine points each. Tracie Nygaard (Jr, F, Astoria, OR/Knappa HS) and Fujioka followed with eight points apiece. Payne contributed seven points. The Bearcats received six rebounds from Nygaard and six more from Fujioka, who also led the team with four steals.

The Bearcats converted just 2 of 10 three-points shots, but made 7 of 9 free throws. WU committed 22 turnovers and forced St. Mary’s into 22 turnovers as well. St. Mary’s achieved a 37-35 edge in overall rebounds.

Weisbrod led the Cardinals in scoring with 13 points. Saufferer chipped in 12 pints and Tanke supplied 11 points. Coates was the game’s top rebounder with eight boards. She also led all players with five assists.