Hopkins and Riggs Combine for 38 Points, as Bearcats Hold Off Pirates, 85-72

Kassin Hopkins (Jr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College)
Kassin Hopkins (Jr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Sami Riggs (Fy., G, La Verne, CA/Bonita HS) scored 12 of her 18 points in the first half, and Kassin Hopkins (Sr., Connell, WA/Connell HS/Bellevue College) produced all 20 of her points in the second half, as Willamette University built a large lead before holding off Whitworth University for an 85-73 win over the Pirates at the Whitworth Fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 10. The Northwest Conference victory improved Willamette's record to 9-3 on the season and to 3-0 in the NWC. Whitworth fell to 8-4 overall, 1-2 in the NWC.

Willamette was in front 45-30 at halftime and held a 58-37 lead with 6:13 left in the third quarter. Whitworth pulled within 68-55 at the end of the third period, and eventually got as close as four points at 73-69 with 3:15 to go.

Hopkins connected on a 3-pointer from the corner with 2:04 remaining to increase Willamette's advantage to 76-69. The basket started a 12-3 by the Bearcats to end the game.

Five Willamette players finished with double-digit scoring. The 20 points from Hopkins and the 18 points from Riggs led the way. Amanda Carpenter (Jr., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS) contributed 15 points, while Ava Kitchin (Fy., F, Redmond, OR/Redmond HS) earned 12 points and Elizabeth Logsdon (Sr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) finished with 11 points.

The Bearcats were successful on 12 of 23 shots from behind the 3-point line, with Riggs (5 of 6) and Hopkins (4 of 5) combining to go 9 for 11 on long-range shots. Hopkins finished 7 of 9 from the floor. Drew Farmer (Sr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) was credited with 10 assists and five steals. Willamette attained a 36-34 margin on the glass, as Carpenter and Kitchin each grabbed a team-high six rebounds.

Carpenter had a solid overall game. In addition to scoring 15 points and recording six boards, she was 5 of 7 on field goals, provided three assists and created three steals. She was 2 of 4 from 3-point range.

"That was a great team win tonight. To have five players with double figures in scoring and a player in double figures with assists shows how well we shared the ball."
— Willamette Head Coach Peg Swadener

Whitworth was led by Courtney Gray with 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. Sydney Abbott supplied the Pirates with 18 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Quincy McDeid tacked on 16 points to go with four assists.

The Pirates scored the first four points of the Bearcats responded with a 9-2 run. Riggs opened the run with a 3-pointer. After Gray scored for Whitworth, Lodgson, Farmer and Carpenter each scored on a layup giving Willamette a 9-6 lead with 7:37 left in the first quarter. Willamette was in front 13-10 following a layup by Farmer at the 4:41 mark, but the Pirates rallied to take a 19-16 lead on a layup by Gray with 1:28 on the clock. The teams were tied at 19-19 when the quarter ended.

After each team scored a basket in the second quarter, the game was deadlocked once again. The Bearcats put together a 10-0 run, starting with a 3-pointer each by Riggs and Madison Ballard (So., G, Monroe, OR/Monroe HS), to grab a 31-21 lead with 6:47 remaining in the half. The Pirates reduced the margin to 31-25 following a layup by Abbott with 5:39 to go, but Willamette countered with a 12-1 surge to extend the difference to 17 points at 43-26 with under two minutes left. The Pirates scored four of the final six points of the half.

Willamette opened the third quarter by going on a 9-3 run ending that ended with a 3-pointer by Carpenter, as the Bearcats increased their lead to 54-33 at the 7:36 mark. Soon, the Bearcats owned a similar advantage at 58-37 following a 3-pointer by Riggs. The next eight points were scored by the Pirates, who pulled within 58-45 as the clock reached 3:30. Hopkins stopped the rally by hitting a 3-pointer for Willamette 24 seconds later.

A 6-0 run by Whitworth in the first 2:39 of the fourth quarter enabled the Pirates to cut the deficit to 68-61. Talia Brandner completed the run with a 3-point basket. The Bearcats scored five of the next seven points on a layup and a 3-pointer by Hopkins for a 73-63 edge with 5:04 to play. Three baskets in a 1:16 span, starting and ending with layups by Gray, moved the Pirates within 73-69 with 3:15 left.

Riggs grabbed a defensive rebound with 2:20 on the clock to set up the key 3-pointer by Hopkins 16 seconds later. An offensive foul on Gray with 1:41 left also slowed Whitworth's momentum. McDeid sank 1 of 2 free throws for the Pirates with 1:22 left to reduce Willamette's lead to 76-70. Hopkins scored on a jumper with 58 seconds left and Brandner put through a layup for Whitworth at the 34-second mark, as Willamette's advantage moved to 78-72. The Bearcats hit 7 of 8 free throws the rest of the way to increase the final margin to 13 points.

Willamette shot 51.6% for the game (32 of 52), including 52.2% on 3-pointers. The Bearcats limited Whitworth to 44.4% accuracy from the field  (28 of 63) and just 25.0% from 3-point range (3 of 12). Whitworth was 13 for 16 at the free throw line, while Willamette converted 9 of 14 free throws.

The Bearcats are scheduled to play at Whitman College on Saturday, Jan. 11. Game time is set for 4 p.m. (PST). The Blues, currently 11-1 overall and 3-0 in the NWC, are ranked #12 in the D3hoops.com Top 25 Poll.