Bearcats Outscore Banana Slugs 78-70 for OT Victory at Cone Field House

Drew Farmer (Sr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS)
Drew Farmer (Sr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SALEM, Ore -- Willamette University outscored the University of California, Santa Cruz 15-7 in overtime, as the Bearcats defeated the Banana Slugs, 78-70, at Cone Field House on Saturday, Nov. 16. The Bearcats advanced their record to 3-1 with the win, while UC Santa Cruz dropped to 1-2 on the season.

During the five-minute overtime period, the Bearcats hit 3 of 4 field goals and sank 9 of 10 free throws. Meanwhile, UCSC connected on 7 of 8 free throws in the extra session, but Willamette held the Banana Slugs to 0 for 6 shooting from the field.

Kassin Hopkins (Sr., G, Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College) was Willamette's leading scorer in the game with 20 points. She put through 7 of 13 field goals, including two 3-point baskets, and was 4 for 5 at the line. Ava Kitchin (Fy., F, Redmond, OR/Redmond HS) also went 7 of 13 on field goals for the Bearcats, as she finished with 14 points.

Drew Farmer (Sr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) of Willamette earned 11 points, 11 rebounds, seven assists and a steal. She missed a triple-double by three assists.

Two more Bearcats reached double-digit scoring, as Elizabeth Logsdon (Sr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) and Ashlyn Ascuena-Mercil (Fy., F, Boise, ID/Timberline HS) each contributed 10 points. Logsdon also hauled down nine rebounds.

Kaylee Murphy led the Banana Slugs with a game-high 24 points. She made 6 of 13 field goals and converted 12 of 15 free throws. Ashley Kowack of UC Santa Cruz scored 17 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. CJ Catina added 13 points and seven boards.

The Bearcats held a 54-41 lead after three quarters, but UCSC rallied in the fourth quarter to tie the game. The Banana Slugs were 8 of 13 from the field and 6 of 7 at the free throw line in the final 10 minutes of regulation. The Bearcats connected on just 1 of 11 field goals during the quarter -- a 3-pointer by Hopkins -- but WU sank 6 of 8 free throws.

Willamette was in front 60-52 after Hopkins hit the 3-point shot with 5:51 remaining in regulation. UC Santa Cruz cut the lead to 61-58 a bit later on two free throws by Murphy at the 3:26 mark. Farmer converted two free throws for the Bearcats with 3:02 to go, giving WU a 63-58 advantage. The Banana Slugs scored the next five points, starting with a jumper by Kowack with 2:25 on the clock. Murphy made 1 of 2 free throws with 2:10 to go, and Maddie Brauer scored on a jumper with 1:32 left.

Neither team scored during the remainder of the fourth quarter, as WU had three missed shots and USCS had two missed shots. Murphy overshot a mid-range jumper with two seconds left and Farmer held onto the rebound for Willamette.

Logsdon provided the Bearcats with the first four points of overtime for a 67-63 lead on two successful free throws at the 4:42 mark and two more free throw with 4:13 left. The Banana Slugs pulled within 67-65 on two free throws from Murphy. Willamette extended the lead to 71-65 with two free throws by Hopkins and a layup by Kitchin with 2:54 remaining.

UC Santa Cruz was within 73-69 after Kowack sank two free throws with 1:39 to play. The next five points went to Willamette starting with a layup by Kitchin on a well-time pass from Farmer at the 1:18 mark. Farmer hit 1 of 2 free throws with 49 seconds left, and Hopkins added two free throws at the 32-second mark for a 78-69 lead. Maddie Brauer of UC Santa Cruz converted the second of two free throws with 21 seconds remaining to complete the scoring.

Willamette surged out to leads of 13-3 and 19-8 in the first quarter. Hopkins and Kitchins led the way with six points each. The Bearcats outscored the Banana Slugs by a slim 19-18 margin in the second quarter. UCSC pulled within 20-14 on a layup by Aubrey Wagner with 5:48 on the clock, but Willamette gained a 35-20 lead on a 3-pointer by Madison Ballard (So., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS) with 1:34 left in the half. The Bearcats owned a 38-26 margin at the break.

For the game, WU shot 43.9% from the field (25 of 57) and made 5 of 15 three-point shots (33.3%). The Bearcats sank 23 of 31 free throws (74.2%). Willamette limited the Banana Slugs to 35.2% shooting on the night (25 of 71), including 26.7% on 3-pointers (4 of 15). UC Santa Cruz was 16 of 24 on free throws (66.7%).

The Bearcats gained a 46-36 advantage on the glass, but UCSC committed just seven turnovers, while WU lost the ball 16 times. The Bearcats achieved a 23-7 lead in bench scoring.

Up next for Willamette is a home game against California Lutheran University at Cone Field House on Friday, Nov. 22. Game time is scheduled for 6 p.m. (PST).