Lewis & Clark Grabs Early Lead, Defeats Willamette, 77-43

Tenth-ranked Pioneers never trail, Place four Players in Double Figures

By Timothy Walsh, Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- Lewis & Clark College, ranked 10th in the nation by D3hoops.com, scored the game's first six points, then gradually pulled away from Willamette University in a Northwest Conference women's basketball game at Cone Field House on Friday, January 5.

Mackenzie Lamson (Jr., F, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS), led the Bearcats with a game-high 17 points, while Sophie Wilson (Sr., G, Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS) added 9 points for Willamette, who dropped to 0-13 on the year, 0-4 in the NWC.

The Pioneers placed four players in double figures, led Tayler Want's 17 points. Kristina Williams chipped in a double-double for L&C, notching 12 points and 10 rebounds. Sara Villanueva added 13 points, while Katie Anderson scored 10. Lewis & Clark improved to 13-1, 4-1 in the NWC.

L&C jumped out to an early 6-0 lead, but the Bearcats closed the gap to just one after a layup from Jo Johnston (Fr., C, Missoula, MT/Florence-Carlton HS), a jumper from Katie Kalugin (So., F, Woodburn, OR/Woodburn HS), and a free throw from Rebecca Josephson (Jr., G, Fair Oaks, CA/Del Campo HS).

The Pioneers ripped off eight straight points, however, pushing their lead back to nine points on Williams' old-fashioned three-point play with 13:09 remaining in the first half.

Willamette stayed within striking distance, closing the gap to seven points on Josephson's jumper at the 8:24 mark, and keeping the deficit to just 33-22 on Lamson's layup with 44 seconds left in the period. But Lewis & Clark took advantage of a pair of Bearcat miscues to seize control of the game.

With 19 seconds on the clock, Villanueva converted a layup while being fouled by Kalugin, then sunk the ensuing free throw. After forcing a Willamette turnover – the Bearcats' 11th of the first half – Casey Zinn hit a jumper, drew a foul on Julia Brand (So., F, Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School), and hit another free throw, giving L&C a 39-22 halftime lead.

Lewis & Clark opened the second half with an 11-4 run, increasing their lead to 24 before Lamson connected on a jumper to temporarily halt the Pioneers' momentum. Willamette eventually closed within 20 on a jumper from Lamson with 14:38 remaining.

But that was as close as the Bearcats would get. L&C quickly responded with a 6-0 spurt, then gradually extended its lead over the following twelve minutes. The Pioneers' lead eventually reached 77-40 on a free throw from Reese DeHart with 1:30 left in the game, before Wilson connected on a three-pointer for the game's final margin.

Lewis & Clark's physical defense limited Willamette to just 31.7% shooting for the game (19 of 60), including just 25.7% (9 of 35) in the second half. L&C connected on 28 of 67 attempts (41.8%), while adding 17 makes on 23 shots from the foul line (73.9%). The Bearcats were 3 of 4 from the free throw line (75%).

The Pioneers corralled 44 rebounds to Willamette's 40, while forcing the Bearcats into 21 turnovers. Lewis & Clark committed just ten turnovers in the game.

Willamette returns to action tomorrow evening at Pacific Lutheran University in Parkland, Wash. Tipoff is scheduled for 6:00 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

Lewis & Clark College 77
Willamette University 43

Junior forward Mackenzie Lamson led Willamette with 17 points on 7-13 shooting.

Junior forward Mackenzie Lamson led Willamette with 17 points on 7-13 shooting.