McMINNVILLE, Ore. - Gretchen Owens scored a game-high 22 points and Linfield overcame a 13-point halftime deficit on its way to 65-56 win over Northwest Conference foe Willamette Friday evening at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
With the win Linfield evens its record to 10-10 overall and 5-7 in NWC action. Willamette falls to 2-16 on the season and 1-10 in the NWC.
Coming into the game sitting in last place in the NWC, Willamette took the fight to Linfield early on.
Leading 8-7 after a Linfield basket at the 15:07 mark of the first half, Willamette rolled off an 11-0 run. Maya McFaddin ignited the run with two-straight baskets, before Erin Barclay capped off the spurt with a layup at the 12:06 mark.
The Bearcats kept the pressure on, pushing the lead out to 22-8 on a 3-pointer from Barclay with 11:24 remaining.
The Wildcats responded Barclay’s 3-pointer with six-straight points, fueling an eventual 13-2 run. Linfield capped off the run with baskets from Abby Olbrich, Kaely Maltman (Sr., Sandy, Ore.) and Chandler Jones.
As quickly as the Wildcats had worked back into the game, the Bearcats seized control over the final six minutes of the half.
The Bearcats clamped down on the defensive end of the floor, holding the Wildcats without a point over the final 5:46. After a Gretchen Owens jumper cut the Willamette lead to 26-23 with 5:46 remaining, the Bearcats raced off the final 10 points of the half.
Willamette held Linfield to just 33.3 percent shooting during the period, while knocking down 46.7 percent of its shots. Kaileigh Westermann was unstoppable during the first half, as the junior forward tallied 11 points and 11 rebounds prior to intermission.
Coming out of the break, Linfield put a dent into the Willamette lead. A 14-4 run to start the second half cut the Willamette lead to 40-37 with 10:33 remaining.
In a game that was tightly officiated, foul trouble proved to be an issue for the Bearcats. Westermann picked up her fourth foul with 13:31 remaining in the game. The two clubs combined for 40 fouls on the night.
Following Westermann’s fourth foul, the Wildcats took control with a 30-9 run. The Wildcats took their first lead of the half on a 3-pointer from Micha Pringle at the 7:02 mark. Pringle’s shot gave Linfield a 47-44 advantage.
Owens capped off the 30-9 run with a layup at the 3:13 mark, giving the Wildcats a comfortable 60-49 advantage.
After shooting the ball poorly during the first half, Linfield posted a 45.2 shooting percentage during the second half. The Wildcats finished the game with a 39.7 percent clip.
Linfield forced 23 Willamette turnovers, while knocking down 16-of-23 attempts from the free throw line.
Maltman chipped in with 15 points and Pringle added 13 off the bench.
Westermann finished with 18 points and 15 rebounds, while Barclay and McFaddin scored 10 points apiece.
NEXT: Linfield returns to action Friday for a 6 p.m. road game against Puget Sound.
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