Bearcats Tip-Off Season Against La Verne at Bon Appetit Tournament

Team Features Balanced Roster of Seven Returners, Eight Freshmen

By Brandon Chinn, Student Assistant Athletics Communications Director

SALEM, ORE. -- With an added infusion of talent and a heavy mix of returning players, the Willamette University women's basketball team is set to begin the 2013-14 season this weekend. 

Tipping off at the Bon Appetit Tournament in Portland, Ore., the Bearcats will take on the University of La Verne on Friday night at 5 p.m. (PST), before challenging SUNY Geneseo at 6 p.m. on Saturday. Fans can follow both games using the live video and stats provided by Lewis & Clark College, which is hosting the tournament.

Despite losing two of their top three scorers from a season ago, the Bearcats are still fully suited to compete. Helping to fill that void will be a strong returning back court of Katie Kalugin (Jr., G, Woodburn, Ore./Woodburn HS) and Jojo DeLong (Jr., PG, Santa Clarita, Calif./Canyon HS).

 Both players started all 25 games in the back court last season. 

Kalugin is the team's top returning scorer after averaging 7.3 points per contest in 2012-13. She also leads all returners with a 3.6 rebounds per game average last season. DeLong averaged 4.4 points per game along with 79 assists, while connecting on 26 three-point attempts.

The two seniors on the team, Rebecca Josephson (G, Fair Oaks, Calif./Del Campo HS) and Alexa Beeson (G, Portland, Ore./Lincoln HS), will also serve as major contributors to the team's back court.

Returning to Willamette midway through the season last year after studying abroad in the fall, Josephson started in 15 games for the Bearcats. She averaged 6.3 points per game.

After playing in 24 contests for Willamette last season, Beeson appears poised to break out in 2013-14. She scored 11 points and made all three of her three-point attempts on Oct. 30 during an exhibition matchup against Clackamas Community College.

Julia Brand (Jr., F, Kaneohe, Hawaii/Punahou School) returns as a commanding presence in the post for Willamette. Starting in all 25 games last season, Brand averaged just over five points and hauled in 95 rebounds.   

While the Bearcats are fortunate to have a strong core of returning players, the eight newcomers in this year's freshmen class will look to contribute as well. Alex Wert (Fr., F, Spokane, Wash./St. George's HS) started in the exhibition match against Clackamas CC and nearly recorded a double double with 12 points and nine boards.

Leading Willamette in scoring in their 70-69 win was Kylie Towrie (Fr., G, Medford, Ore. South Medford HS), who came off the bench to score 18 points on five of nine shooting from the floor.

After this weekend's action at the Bon Appetit Tournament, the Bearcats will make their first appearance at Gordie James Court this season on Nov. 20 when the team hosts Concordia University. Tip-off for that game is set for 7 p.m. 

FOLLOW THE GAMES

Live Video and Stats
(provided by Lewis & Clark)

Junior guard Rebecca Joseph started 15 games for Willamette last year, averaging 6.3 points per game.

Junior guard Rebecca Joseph started 15 games for Willamette last year, averaging 6.3 points per game.