GEORGE FOX 73, WILLAMETTE 28: Bruins Begin Final Home Stand by Blasting Bearcats

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NEWBERG, Ore. – Holding visiting Willamette University to less than 20 percent shooting from the field, the nationally-ranked George Fox University Bruins cruised to a 73-28 win over the Bearcats and moved into a tie for first place in the Northwest Conference women's basketball chase Friday night here at the Wheeler Sports Center's Miller Gym.

George Fox, ranked 18th in the latest NCAA Division III poll and 21st in the WBCA poll, improved to 16-4 overall and 9-2 in the conference.  With the win, the Bruins moved into a three-way tie for first with Lewis & Clark College, which lost 53-52 at Whitworth University, and Whitman College, a 61-31 winner over Pacific University.  Willamette fell to 1-18 overall and 1-9 in the NWC.

The Bruins scored the first seven points of the game on a three-pointer by Jami Roos, two Justine Benner free throws, and a layup by Megan Arnoldy and never slowed down.  The lead reached 13-2 on a Benner basket before the Bearcats picked up their first field goal on a jumper by Katie Kalugin with 14:15 to go in the half, but that was the last time the Bruins' lead would be less than double digits. 

The George Fox bulge ballooned over 20 at 26-5 on a Benner layup with 8:15 left, and expanded to 23 when Roos hit a three, giving her 10 points in the half, to make it 34-11 with 3:13 remaining.  The halftime lead was 39-13 following a Katie Morse free throw with five seconds left.

Jojo DeLong hit a jumper for the Bearcats to start the second half, but that 24-point margin was as close as the visitors would get the rest of the game.  The gap hit 30 when Hayley Cusick converted a three-point play for a 47-16 lead with 16:22 to play, and 40 on a putback by Ally McConnell at 9:08 that capped an 11-0 run and made it 58-18 .  The largest lead was 45 following two McKenzie Wolfe free throws that made it 67-22 with 4:33 left, and the final score was also a 45-point difference.

George Fox shot .481 (26-54) from the field while holding Willamette to a .196 percentage (10-51), including 0-15 from three-point range.  The Bruins also held a hefty 48-29 advantage on the boards.

Roos led all scorers with 13 points for the Bruins, and Wolfe just missed her second double-double with 11 points, hitting 4-4 from the field, and nine rebounds.  All 11 Bruins who played scored.  Cusick added nine points and eight boards, along with five assists and three steals.  Kyla Miner had a team-leading six assists.

No one reached double figures in scoring for the Bearcats, Rebecca Josephson finishing with a team-high eight points.  Jo Johnston had a team-best eight rebounds, and Kalugin made four steals.  The Bearcats were limited to three assists all night.

NEXT: George Fox plays its final home game of the season Saturday against Yamhill County rival Linfield College at 6:00 p.m.  The Bruins' three graduating seniors - Kelsey Khaw, Katie Morse, and Hannah Munger - will be honored in pre-game ceremonies ... Willamette hosts the University of Puget Sound Saturday, also at 6:00 p.m. ... Both games will be followed by men's NWC contests at 8:00 p.m.