McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Gretchen Owens and Kaely Maltman (Sr., Sandy, Ore.) combined for 53 points to lead Linfield to a 78-61 rout of rival Willamette in women’s basketball action Saturday night in Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
The Wildcats (8-5, 2-2 NWC) overcome an early deficit, outscored the Bearcats (1-12, 0-3 NWC) 38-26 in the decisive second half and shot a season-high 55.8 percent from the floor en route to their fifth consecutive victory over Willamette.
Mackenzie Lamson got the Bearcats rolling early, scoring eight points before the midway point of the first period to help the visitors claim an eight-point lead with 11:28 to go.
Hot shooting helped Willamette push the scoring advantage to 13 points, 28-15. The Bearcats hit nearly everything, more specifically 60 percent of what they put up, in the early going. But as they cooled off late in the second half, the Wildcats were just heating up.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Owens and Katelyn Henson (Jr., Camas, Wash.) capped off a 6-0 Linfield run that cut the lead to five with 6:06 remaining.
A few minutes later, Maltman’s transition jumper brought the game to its first tie since the opening minute, this time at 33-33. With 47 seconds to go, Owens hit a bucket to give the Wildcats their first lead in 17 ½ minutes. By halftime, Linfield had pushed its advantage to five points, 40-35.
Owens had 17 points before the break on 6-of-12 shooting from the floor and a perfect 4-of-4 output from the free throw line.
The Wildcats continued to ride the momentum in the opening minutes of the second half, using an 8-3 run to push their lead to 10 points. They never looked back.
A jumper by Rebecca Josephson cut the margin to five points with 16:03 on the clock, but that is the closest the Bearcats would get the rest of the night as Linfield’s lead ballooned to 21 points late in the game.
Owens ended up with 28 points, 11 rebounds and four assists. Maltman nearly matched her with 25 points on 10-of-12 shooting from the field. Alex Christensen added five points and a game-high six assists.
For the Bearcats, Josephson led the way with 14 points, Lamson finished with 13 and Kaileigh Westermann added 12.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Owens is now No. 3 on Linfield’s career scoring leader with 1,139 points. She is among just six 1,000 point scorers in program history. All but Owens, who transferred from Umpqua C.C., played four seasons for the Wildcats.
NEXT: The Wildcats take off for the Eastern Washington road swing, battling Whitman Friday night and Whitworth Saturday evening. Both games tip off at 6 p.m. Live play-by-play coverage starts at approximately 5:50 on www.linfield.edu/sports.
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