GEORGE FOX 75, PUGET SOUND 59: Bruins Retain Top Spot in NWC by Buzzing Loggers
NEWBERG, Ore. – Led by Hannah Munger's double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds, the third-ranked George Fox University Bruins maintained sole possession of first place in the Northwest Conference women's basketball race with a 75-59 win over the University of Puget Sound Loggers Saturday evening here at the Wheeler Sports Center's Miller Gym.
George Fox remained undefeated at 15-0 overall, the second-best start in team history, and moved to 6-0 in the conference, a game ahead of eighth-ranked Lewis & Clark College, which defeated Willamette University 71-28. Puget Sound, which had been tied with Lewis & Clark for second in the NWC, slipped to 8-7 overall and 4-2 and into a tie for third in the league with Whitman College.
Both teams came out of the blocks hot, the Bruins making five of their first seven shots and the Loggers hitting their first four tries. A rebound basket by Munger gave the Bruins an early 8-5 lead, but the Loggers answered with consecutive goals by Ashley Agcaioili and Amanda Forshay and a free throw by Agcaioili to take a 10-8 lead with 16 minutes to go in the half. The Bruins regained the lead on a Hayley Cusick three-pointer from the corner, and there were four more lead changes and two ties over the next three minutes.
Down 16-15, Dacia Heckendorf's three at the 12:33 mark gave the Bruins the lead back and ignited a 13-2 run, capped by a Heckendorf layup, that put the home team up 28-18 with 6:18 to go. A trey by Forshay ended the Bruins' spurt, but that was as close as the Loggers got the rest of the half. The Bruins led by nine, 35-26, at the intermission.
After the hot start, both teams cooled off, the Bruins to .467 (14-30) and the Loggers to .400 (10-25) in the field goal department. Munger had 12 points and seven rebounds to lead the Bruins in the half, while Agcaioili had nine for the Loggers.
Kelsey McKinnis scored the first basket of the second half for the Loggers to cut the visitors' deficit to seven, but the Bruins reeled off eight points in a row, Munger scoring on both ends of the run, to build a 43-28 lead with 15:12 to play. The Bruins' lead remained in double figures the rest of the way. Another run of 9-0 that began midway through the half enabled the Bruins to take a 22-point lead of 59-37 on an Arianna Mohsenian free throw with 5:40 left. They later stretched it to 25 at 73-48 with 2:10 left following back-to-back threes by Jami Roos. A final 11-2 spurt by the Loggers was too little, too late.
Munger hit 10-13 from the field plus four free throws en route to her eighth double-double of the season and 33rd of her career. She also had game highs of five assists and four blocked shots. Roos added 21 points, including four three-pointers, and Cusick picked up four steals. The Bruins shot .522 (12-23) in the second half to finish with a .491 shooting percentage (26-53), including 7-16 (.438) from long range, and held a 45-29 rebound advantage.
McKinnis topped the Loggers with 16 points, hitting 6-10 from the field with a trio of threes, and Forshay added 11 along with a team-high four assists. Erin Stumbaugh led the Loggers with five rebounds and three steals. Puget Sound was held to a .323 shooting mark (10-31) in the second half and wound up at .357 (20-56) for the game.
The game was played before an estimated largest crowd of the season of some 1,300 on "Bruin Madness" night, a family fun and spirit-building event sponsored by the George Fox Alumni Association.
NEXT: George Fox plays its third straight conference home game Friday against Pacific Lutheran University at 6:00 p.m. … Puget Sound returns home to host Linfield College Friday, also at 6:00 p.m. … Both games will be part of NWC doubleheaders, with the men's games following at 8:00 p.m.