GEORGE FOX 68, WILLAMETTE 55: Bruins’ 2nd-Half Outburst Buries Bearcats’ Upset Bid

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SALEM, Ore. – Hannah Munger posted her third straight double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds and the George Fox University Bruins broke open a tight game with 12 straight points to start the second half en route to a 68-55 win over the Willamette University Bearcats in Northwest Conference women's basketball Saturday night here at Cone Field House.

George Fox, ranked 22nd in the latest WBCA national poll and 24th by, posted its 21st straight win over Willamette and improved to 10-3 overall and 3-1 in the conference.  The Bearcats fell to 0-12 overall and 0-3 in the NWC.

The Bruins had turnovers on their first two possessions while the Bearcats scored on their two, baskets by Katie Kalugin and Julia Brand giving them a 4-0 lead.  Megan Arnoldy put the Bruins on the board with a baseline jumper two minutes in, but the Bearcats took off on an 11-3 run featuring a three-pointer and a jumper in the lane by Rebecca Josephson to build a 10-point lead of 15-5 with 12:38 left in the half. 

The Bruins finally got going with seven straight points, five on two layups and a free throw by Megan Hays, to cut the deficit to 15-12 with just under 10 minutes left.  Munger scored seven straight Bruin points on a free throw and three layups, the last drawing George Fox into its first tie at 19-19 with 5:49 to go.  Justine Benner's three gave the Bruins their first lead of 22-21 and Jami Roos added two free throws for a 24-21 lead at the 4:24 mark, but a Sophie Wilson three 30 seconds later knotted it 24-24.

There were two more ties in the half before Wilson hit another three from the left wing to put the Bearcats back on top 31-30 with 1:20 left.  A rebound jumper by Nicole Blizzard with 58 seconds left enabled the Bruins to take a 32-31 lead into the half.

The Bruins opened the second half with 12 unanswered points while holding the Bearcats scoreless for over four minutes.  Megan Hays hit two free throws and a hook, Hayley Cusick drove for a score, Munger hit a jumper and Roos a layup, and Arnoldy sank two free throws to give the Bruins a 44-31 lead before Katelyn Nordlien hit a three for the Bearcats at the 15:53 mark.  The Bruins' lead never dipped into single digits again, however, as they extended their lead to 18 at 56-38 on a layup by Munger with 8:25 remaining.

Baskets by Josephson, Nordlien and Mackenzie Lamson over the next three minutes brought the Bearcats within 12 at 56-44 before Munger hit two free throws and a jumper and Arnoldy scored a layup to give the Bruins some breathing room at 62-46 with three minutes to play.  The Bruins' final six points all came on free throws.

Munger's double-double was the 43rd of her career and moved her into 13th place in NCAA Division III history.  She also had three blocked shots, raising her career total to 354, 15th all-time in D-III.  Joining her in the scoring column were Arnoldy with 12 points and Roos with 11, while Hays and Blizzard had nine apiece.  The Bruins held a 50-31 advantage on the boards and made 25-of-30 free throws to 2-of-2 for the Bearcats.  Cusick passed out three assists, and Hays also had three blocks.

Josephson was the only Bearcat in double digits with 11 points, while Nordlien scored nine.  Brand was the team's top rebounder with eight, and Jojo DeLong handed out seven assists. 

NEXT: George Fox begins a string of five straight home games with Whitworth University and Willamette hosts fifth-ranked Lewis & Clark College Friday, both tipping off at 6:00 p.m.  Men's NWC games will follow each at 8:00 p.m.