SALEM, Ore. – Getting balanced scoring across the lineup while holding their opponent to 14 first-half points, the Linfield Wildcats ran roughshod on the Willamette Bearcats Friday night at Cone Field House.
Gretchen Owens delivered a double-double with 20 points and 14 rebounds, Katelyn Henson rolled up a season-high 17 points and Kaely Maltman added 13 points, nine rebounds and five assists as Linfield rolled by Willamette 69-55 in a battle of Northwest Conference rivals.
The Wildcats evened their season record at 10-10 and kept their hopes of landing a conference playoff berth mathematically alive, improving to 4-7 in the NWC. Willamette remained winless in the NWC, falling to 0-11 in league action and 1-19 overall.
After a 2-2 tie, the game belonged to Linfield. Fueled by Henson’s early shooting, the Wildcats raced to leads of 15-6 and 24-14. Linfield held the hosts without a point over the final six minutes of the period while building a sizable 40-14 advantage. The Wildcats outscored the Bearcats 16-0 during that stretch to blow the game open.
Henson sank 4-of-6 shots in the opening 20 minutes, but scored just four more after the break. Owens, who connected on just 4-of-10 in the first half, still managed 11 points, nine rebounds and three assists to pace the ‘Cats in the early going. Only one WU player – starter Dora Rabih – had more than one field goal in the half.
Willamette came out of the locker room looking somewhat refreshed. After the Wildcats stretched their lead to 42-14 in the first minute, the Bearcats back to within 19, 54-35, at the midway point of the half. Willamette would come no closer than 15 points the rest of the way as Linfield won its second straight road contest.
Kaileigh Westermann dropped in 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds and four assists for the Bearcats. Sophie Wilson added 10 points.
Linfield shot .462 from the field to Willamette’s .313 and outrebounded the Bearcats 41-37.
Nine Wildcats scored in the game.
COMING UP: Linfield returns to Ted Wilson Gymnasium Saturday for a NWC encounter with NWC-title contender Lewis & Clark. Tipoff is set for 6 p.m. with live internet play-by-play coverage starting at 5:50.