McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Kaely Maltman scored a game-high 15 points and Linfield rolled to a 66-45 Northwest Conference victory over Willamette Tuesday evening inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Nicole Barton, Linfield’s lone senior, was honored prior to tipoff in a ceremony celebrating her four years as a member of Linfield’s varsity squad. She then contributed seven points for the Wildcats, just two off of her career high, which she posted earlier this season.
Linfield collected its third win of the season, finishing the campaign with a mark of 3-19 overall and 3-15 in NWC play. Katelyn Henson added nine points for the Wildcats, who turned in a solid 44.1 shooting percentage from the field.
Willamette (2-23, 2-14 NWC) was led by Katie Kalugin (12) and Julia Brand (10) in the scoring department. Jojo DeLong grabbed a team-high seven rebounds. Willamette shot just 27.8 percent from the floor on the game, and the Bearcats were outrebounded by the Wildcats 44-34.
A nice pass from Jessica McMillan to Henson led to a layup to get the ‘Cats on the board within the first two minutes of play. Brand fought her way inside and got to the rim to score the Bearcats’ first points of the game and make the score 4-2 early on.
The teams struggled offensively early, making just three of their first 13 shots combined over the first four minutes. Barton pushed the ‘Cats into double digits on the scoreboard with a shot from downtown, as Linfield went ahead 11-6.
A layup from DeLong interrupted a 6-0 Wildcat run, but Linfield responded as Tegan Grunwald fed the ball inside to Tyra Barawis who converted the bucket. Catie Mets drilled a wide-open three that opened up Linfield’s first double-digit lead of the game.
Willamette remained close moving through the middle part of the first, as a layup from Brand brought the Bearcats back within 10 with 4:34 remaining. Linfield began to pull away just before the break as a jumper from Barton upped the spread to 14 points. Maltman hit a pair of free throws, McMillan converted a layup, and the ‘Cats took a 34-20 advantage into the locker room.
Brand led all first half scorers with nine points, and Maltman hauled in five rebounds for the Wildcats. Linfield shot a solid 46.7 percent from the floor in the first, while Willamette sat at just 21.4 percent in the same category.
Linfield picked up the pace in the second, as the short Willamette bench struggled to keep up. The Wildcats jumped out to a to a 20-point lead within the first four minutes and prompted Bearcats head coach Peg Swadener to burn a timeout.
The Wildcats kept control of their lead through the latter part of the second half, and the Bearcats made no serious threat at a comeback. Alison Brown made her eighth appearance of the season, Zoey Hendryx made her seventh and Jalyn Halstead made her sixth off the bench for the Wildcats.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Maltman finished the season ranked first in the NWC in minutes per game (33.7), second in field goal percentage (50.3) and eighth in points per game (11.6)…Henson finished fourth in minutes (31.7) and rebounds per game (8.3), and fifth in points per game (12)...one of Willamette’s two wins came against Linfield when the Bearcats downed the Wildcats 58-49 on Jan. 22 in Salem…the Bearcats had just six active players on their roster for the game.