McMINNVILLE, Ore. – A solid defensive effort propelled the third-ranked and undefeated George Fox women’s basketball team to an easy Northwest Conference victory Saturday night at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
The Bruins (16-0, 7-0 NWC) quickly turned a close game into a rout, holding the Wildcats (8-9, 2-6 NWC) to just 23 second-half points and forcing the home squad into 23 turnovers overall.
The opening minutes of the game gave little indication of the final scoring differential. As both teams traded baskets, neither managed to gain a sizable lead – greater than three points – throughout the first nine minutes of play.
Whereas Linfield looked to push the pace, partly to break the Bruins’ full-court press, the visitors opted for a more deliberate half-court offense.
Defensively, much attention was paid to 6-foot-5 Hannah Munger, who was double or triple-teamed every time she touched the ball in the paint. This, however, allowed her to find wide-open teammates for easy scores. The junior post finally scored a bucket of her own, a difficult left-handed bank shot, about 11 minutes into the first half.
Munger’s basket came in the midst of a 12-2 run that allowed the Bruins to open up the first double-digit lead of the game, 30-20, with 7:56 remaining in the opening period.
A jumper by Katelyn Henson (Jr., Camas, Wash.) capped off a 9-5 spurt that brought Linfield to within to six points with 68 seconds on the clock, but a 3-pointer by Jami Roos and offensive putback by Breezy Rinehart-Young pushed GFU’s lead back to 11, 40-29.
The Bruins’ Megan Arnoldy led all scorers with 13 points by halftime on 5-of-9 shooting. Gretchen Owens paced the Wildcats with a dozen points.
An energetic Linfield squad came out the locker room looking to make a run. The ‘Cats knocked down a couple of three-pointers, cutting the lead to eight points each time. But George Fox kept pace, and after an Arnoldy jumper put the Bruins up 49-39, the lead never dipped to single digits again.
As the visitors continued to pour it on in the second half and the game’s outcome all but decided, the only question that remained was the final score: 75-52.
Owens earned game-high scoring honors with 24 points, including long jumper that beat the final buzzer. No other Linfield player scored in double figures; Henson and Brynna Fuller were the next highest scorers with six points each. Henson also corralled a game-high and career-high 11 rebounds.
Arnoldy finished with 23 points and a team-high eight rebounds. Teammate Arianna Mohsenian contributed 16 points and Rinehart-Young added 10. Munger finished, knocking down just 2 of her 7 attempts from the floor.
‘CAT SCRATCH: The Bruins have now won nine straight contests against the Wildcats, whose last win in the series occurred Jan. 23, 2007 in McMinnville.
AHEAD: Linfield takes on Pacific for the second time this season, this time at home, Tuesday evening at 6 p.m. Live radio coverage begins at approximately 5:50 p.m. The Boxers won the first meeting between the two clubs back in November by a score of 87-54.
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