by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SALEM, Ore. – The Willamette Bearcats pulled away in the final minutes to earn an 80-74 win over the Whitworth Pirates in Saturday evening's Northwest Conference women's basketball contest.
Britanny Kochenderfer led the Bearcats (8-11, 3-7 NWC) with a game-high 27 points, 10 rebounds, and 5 steals.
The Pirates looked like they might pull away early in the second quarter. Leading 12-11 after the first, the Bucs went on an 11-2 run in the opening 1:59 of the second quarter to take a nine-point lead. Brandner opened the run with a jumper, which Sydney Abbott and Jordan Smith followed with three-pointers.
Willamette refused to go away, responding to Whitworth's run with a 6-0 spurt. Elizabeth Logsdon scored 4 of her 12 points in the spurt, but the Pirates were able to hold off the Bearcats just enough to enter halftime with a 35-34 lead.
After a back-and-forth third quarter the Bearcats took a 60-55 advantage early in the fourth. The Pirates erased the lead late in the quarter with a three-pointer and two free throws from Brandner, knotting the game at 67.
The Bearcats responded with an 13-7 run over the final 3:07. Logsdon contributed four points on layups and Amanda Carpenter converted a game-sealing three-point play to close out the game for Willamette.
Whitworth shot 44.4% (28-63) from the floor and 38.5% (5-13) from three. The Bearcats made 50.9% (27-53) of their shots and 46.7% (7-15) of their three-pointers. Both teams finished with 34 rebounds and the Bucs eked out a win in the turnover battle (16-15).
The Pirates have two days off before traveling to Whitman for their rematch with the Blues. The Tuesday evening contest tips off at 6 p.m.