Bearcats End Game with 8-1 Run to Slip past Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 54-51

CarolAnn Edwards releases a shot inside the paint.
CarolAnn Edwards (So., F, Spokane, WA/University HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

CLAREMONT, Calif. -- CarolAnn Edwards (So., F, Spokane, WA/University HS) of Willamette University scored on a layup with 18.5 seconds left to break a 51-51 tie, and Ava Kitchin (So., F, Redmond, OR/Redmond HS) hit 1 of 2 free throws with three seconds to go, as the Bearcats edged past Claremont-Mudd-Scripps, 54-51, on Friday, Nov. 26, in the David Wells Classic at Roberts Pavilion. The Bearcats improved to 4-3, while Claremont-Mudd-Scripps fell to 2-3.

Willamette led by 13 points midway through the second quarter, and the Bearcats held a 42-37 advantage after three quarters, but CMS took a 50-46 lead on a layup by Austyn Masuno with 2:07 remaining in the game. WU outscored the Athenas 8-1 the rest of the way.

After the Athenas grabbed their four-point cushion, the Bearcats answered just 19 seconds later to pull within 50-48 on two free throws by Amanda Carpenter (Grad., G, Beaverton, OR/Sunset HS). Jocelyn Song of CMS connected on 1 of 2 free throws with 1:16 left to give the Athenas a 51-48 lead.

Willamette committed a turnover on its next possession, but Carolyn Ho (So., G, Parker, CO/Ponderosa HS) stole the ball back for the Bearcats with about a minute left. Kitchin scored on a layup -- assisted by Ho -- with 47 seconds to go. Kitchin, who was fouled on the play, hit the ensuing free throw to tie the game at 51-51.

A bad pass by CMS with 40.5 seconds remaining allowed WU to create the go-ahead basket by Edwards with 18.5 seconds on the clock. Ashlyn Ascuena-Mercil (Jr., F, Boise, ID/Timberline HS) earned an assist by driving into the lane and passing to Edwards for the layup. The Athenas lost possession under their own basket with 10.4 seconds left.

The Bearcats called a timeout to advance the ball. CMS was forced to foul twice to put the Bearcats in the bonus with 3.0 seconds remaining. Kitchin missed the first free throw, but sank the second, for a 54-51 lead. The Athenas, who were out of timeouts, managed to get the ball into the frontcourt, but were unable to shoot before time expired.

Kitchin and Carpenter led the Bearcats with 15 points each. Carpenter added eight rebounds and three steals, while Kitchin contributed seven rebounds, three steals, and a blocked shot. Edwards scored 10 points, and Ascuena-Mercil topped WU with 11 rebounds. Ho joined Carpenter and Kitchin with three steals, as the Bearcats recorded 11 steals and 16 points on 18 CMS turnovers. Willamette lost the ball 15 times, but the Athenas turned the turnovers into just six points. 

Austyn Masuno provided Claremont-Mudd-Scripps with 15 points, a game-high 13 rebounds, and two steals, but also had six turnovers. Jacey Carter tacked on nine points and three steals, while Gwen Gilmore scored eight points.

In the first quarter, Willamette rallied from a 5-2 deficit to take a 9-7 lead on a 3-pointer by Carpenter with 4:16 remaining. The teams were tied at 11-11 after Carter sank two free throws for CMS at the 1:16 mark. WU closed out the quarter with a 7-0 run on a layup by Ascuena-Merci and two layups and a free throw from Kitchin. The free throw completed a traditional three-point play with 23 seconds to go.

The Athenas scored first in the second period, but the Bearcats answered with eight unanswered points for a 26-13 lead with 5:04 left. Layups by Kitchin and Carpenter started the run, and jumpers by Kitchin and Edwards completed the surge. CMS reduced the margin to 29-21 at halftime after Grace Florendo sank a 3-pointer with six seconds remaining.

Two free throws by Claire Bonnet (Jr., G, Boise, ID/Boise HS) opened the second half for the Bearcats, who held the lead throughout the third quarter. A layup by Ruva Kiara pulled CMS within 25-21 at the 2:24 mark, and the Athenas moved within three points on two occasions. Carpenter scored on a layup as time expired to give WU a 42-37 edge.

Gwen Gilmore completed a 7-2 run by CMS to tie the game at 44-44 with 6:42 to play in the game. The Bearcats moved in front 46-44 on an offensive rebound and layup by Ascuena-Mercil 30 seconds later. The Athenas scored the next six points take a 50-46 lead.

The Bearcats hit 18 of 52 field goals (34.6%) and CMS connected on 18 of 51 shots (35.3%). The Athenas made 4 of 16 three-pointers (25.0%), while the Bearcat were 1 for 11 from behind the arc. WU sank 17 of 23 free throws (73.9%), with CMS putting through 11 of 22 free throws (50.0%). The Athenas held a slim 37-36 rebounding edge.

Willamette will take on Pomona-Pitzer at Roberts Pavilion on Saturday, Nov. 27. Game time is set for 1:30 p.m. (PST).