Wilson Scores 20 Points as Bearcats Defeat Wildcats, 58-49

Willamette Earns First Win of the Season

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Senior guard Sophie Wilson (Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS) scored a career-high 20 points on 7 of 12 shooting, including 6 of 9 on 3-pointers, to lead Willamette University to a 58-49 win over Linfield College on Tuesday, Jan. 22 for the Bearcats' first victory of the season.

Willamette moved to 1-16 overall, 1-7 in the Northwest Conference. Linfield dropped to 1-13 on the season and remained winless in the NWC at 0-8.

It was Willamette's first win since Dec. 8, 2011 in a 78-59 victory over William Jessup University (Calif.). It was also the Bearcats' first victory over a Northwest Conference opponent since Feb. 5, 2011, when WU downed Pacific University, 58-57, on a 3-pointer by Wilson at the buzzer.

And it was the first win for Willamette Head Coach Peg Swadener, in her first season with the Bearcats. Swadener previously was the associate head women's basketball coach at Portland State University.

On Tuesday against Linfield, the Bearcats were 9 of 20 (45.0%) from 3-point range. In addition to Wilson's big night, the Bearcats received one 3-pointer each from Jojo DeLong (So., G, Santa Clarita, CA/Canyon HS), Mackenzie Lamson (Jr., F, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) and Daena Mau (So., G, Aiea, HI/Punahou School).

Wilson's six 3-pointers during the game placed her just one trifecta short of the school record of seven, set on three occasions.

Julia Brand (So., F, Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School) added 12 points for the Bearcats on Tuesday, as he hit 5 of 9 field goals and went 2 for 3 at the free throw line. DeLong finished with a team-high six assists and registered four steals.

Lamson and Jo Johnston (Fr., C, Missoula, MT/Florence-Carlton HS) each grabbed six rebounds for Willamette, with Lamson also earning four assists. 

Linfield's top scorer was Kaely Maltman with 22 points on 9 of 14 field goals. She was the only Wildcat in double figures. Catie Mets tacked on nine points. Katelyn Henson of Linfield led all players with nine rebounds and also provided the Wildcats with three assists and two steals.

The first half included two ties and seven lead changes. Linfield took an 8-4 lead 4:36 into the game. Willamette scored 10 of the next 12 points, including a 3-pointer by Lamson and a 3-pointer by Wilson, to achieve a 14-10 advantage with 14:24 remaining in the half.

Linfield countered with an 8-0 run to move back in front 18-14 at the 7:55 mark. Lamson scored on a jumper for WU 17 seconds later, and the Bearcats tied the score when Rebecca Josephson (Jr., G, Fair Oaks, CA/Del Campo HS) put in the next basket with 5:26 left in the period.

Neither team led by more than two points over the rest of the half until Josephson made a jump shot for Willamette with 1:16 on the clock for a 26-22 lead. Mets sank two free throws for Linfield with 53 seconds to go, before Wilson connected on her third 3-pointer of the half with 11 seconds left.

Willamette extended its 29-24 halftime margin on a 3-pointer by DeLong in the first minute of the second half. Linfield answered with a 12-0 run for a 36-32 lead. The run by the Wildcats included six points by Maltman, four points by Henson and a basket from Alex Christensen.

The Bearcats tied the score at 36-36 with 11:39 left, but Linfield moved ahead by two points on a jumper by Maltman. 

Willamette responded with a 16-0 run to take control of the game. The Bearcats edge in front a 39-38 with 9:30 remaining when Brand sank two free throws. The lead reached 44-38 at the 8:02 mark on a 3-pointer by Wilson. DeLong tacked on a layup before Wilson completed the run with two more 3-point shots. WU led 52-38 with 5:39 to go.

Up next for the Bearcats is a home game against NWC rival Pacific University on Friday, Jan. 25. Tipoff at Cone Field House is set for 6 p.m. (PST).

BOX SCORE

Willamette University 58
Linfield College 49

Photo gallery
(By Naomi Stukey, Photographer for Willamette Athletics)

Sophie Wilson scored a career-high 20 points while hitting 7 of 12 shots, including 6 of 9 on three-pointers.

Sophie Wilson scored a career-high 20 points while hitting 7 of 12 shots, including 6 of 9 on three-pointers.