McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Corban center Tara Vandeerdhuizen put on a spectacular performance, scoring a game-high 24 points and pulling down 10 rebounds to lead the Warriors 77-54 over Linfield in the host Wildcats' home opener Wednesday night inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Kaely Maltman led the ‘Cats in scoring with 14 points, and was one of just two Linfield players to score in the double digits along with Taylor Solomon, who had 10. Warriors guard Jade Lowery shot 75 percent from beyond the arc for 19 points. Solomon and Corban's Megan Benedict each had two steals for their respective teams, while Maltman led all players with 14 rebounds.
Both team struggled throughout the first five minutes of the game, combining for seven total points. Linfield tied Corban 2-2 with a Katelyn Henson mid-range jumper early in the game with 17:44 remaining in the half. But from that point forward, Linfield could not stay even with Corban for the rest of the game.
Benedict hit an early 3-pointer that started the Warriors' surge and put the visitors up 5-2 with 16:37 on the clock.
Solomon went to the bench rather quickly due to two early fouls within the first five minutes of the half. However, upon her return she hit Linfield's first 3-pointer of the game straight away from beyond the arc at the 10:56 mark.
On the next possession for the Warriors, Lowery stormed down the court and answered back with a 3-pointer of her own.
Linfield cut the lead down to 32-21 with less than thirty seconds to go in the half. On the Warriors' second to last possession of the half, Vanweerdhuizen drew a foul with six seconds remaining on a drive to the basket. After missing the second free throw, Corban grabbed the rebound kicked the ball to Kelli Christenson, who sank a buzzer-beating 3-pointer to end the half. The Warriors went into halftime with a 35-21 lead.
Vandweerdhuizen notched 12 points in the first half, also pulling down five rebounds. For Linfield, three players scored five points, while the team as a whole shot 20 percent from the field. Maltman managed to grab nine rebounds in the opening period. Corban took advantage of the Linfield zone defense, scoring 16 points in the paint compared to Linfield's four.
The visitors started fast in the second half, going on a 10-2 run to open things up. Lowery hit a 3-pointer for Corban to put the Warriors up 45-23 with 17:17 remaining, forcing Linfield to call a timeout.
Linfield's Dani Krier (Sr., Eugene, Ore.) brought the deficit down to 17 with a 3-pointer at the 13:45 mark of the second period. Corban came up the court their next possession and answered Krier's trey, with yet another long-range bucket, this one from Sadie Pilgeram.
The Warriors kept the game well in hand the rest of the way, only allowing Linfield to come as close as 16 points.
AHEAD: The Wildcats welcome Evergreen State College Geoducks Friday in a non-conference showdown. Tipoff inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium is set for 6 p.m.