NEWBERG, Ore. – Third-ranked George Fox clinched its fifth straight Northwest Conference championship Friday night at Wheeler Sports Center, turning back the upset-minded Linfield Wildcats 66-52.
George Fox kept its record perfect for the season at 24-0 and is one win away from clinching a third undefeated conference season and second unblemished regular-season record.
Linfield all-star Gretchen Owens scored a game-high 20 points and topped rebounding statistics with 12 caroms. The senior guard went 6-for-19 from the field.
The Wildcats also benefited from the 12 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots of Katelyn Henson, plus eight more point down low from Kaely Maltman.
Following a familiar pattern at the Wheeler Sports Center, Linfield held its own for the game’s first 12 minutes, only to watch the Bruins catch fire and take a commanding lead in time for the intermission.
Bruins backup point guard Jami Roos scored 14 of her team-high 17 points during the opening 20 minutes. Roos’ four 3-pointers were the difference in the half as George Fox took 43-27 lead into the locker room.
Owens struggled from the field in the opening half, hitting just 2-of-10 shots for seven points. The Wildcats also surrendered nine turnovers to the Bruins’ three.
Though the first half went along with previous scripts between Linfield and George Fox in Newberg, the second half was much closer. The Wildcats outscored the hosts 25-23, though the Wildcats were within nine points, 52-43, with 9:47 to play.
Linfield forced George Fox into 11 second-half turnovers to remain within striking distance until Bree Rinehart-Young’s layup with 2:52 left gave the Bruins an insurmountable 17-point cushion.
George Fox stretched its conference home winning streak to 49 straight games. As irony would have it, Linfield was the last team to beat the Bruins on their home floor, a distinction that dates to 2006.
Led by Hannah Munger’s nine rebounds, the Bruins outrebounded the Wildcats by a 47-38 margin. As a team, GFU canned 10 3-point buckets while Linfield managed just three. Munger totaled four of the Bruins' eight blocked shots.
NEXT: Linfield plays its season finale Saturday night at home when the ‘Cats welcome Puget Sound to Ted Wilson Gymnasium for senior night. Owens and guard Brynna Fuller will be honored prior to the 6 o’clock tipoff.