FOREST GROVE, Oregon – Pacific University women’s basketball came back in the victory column on Saturday night with their 65-55 win over Willamette at the Stoller Center.
After dropping the head-to-head game against the top two teams in the Northwest Conference, the Boxers (12-5, 5-2 NWC) regrouped to take down a solid Willamette team. Pacific didn’t necessarily click on all cylinders as they fired just north of 40% at night, but found a way to take the win.
Willamette (8-7, 3-3 NWC) struggled to establish any rhythm on the offensive end, scoring just 20 runs in the first half. The defenses of the Pacific proved to be quite dominant and forced 14 turnovers. The Boxers kept Amanda Carpenter, the Bearcats’ leading scorer, to just six points. Willamette saw a decent performance from Ava Kitchin who scored 19 points and seven rebounds.
Brilie Kovaloff (Junior/Honolulu, HI) was outstanding on Saturday night with 24 points to lead all scorers. The shooting guard was 9-of-17 from the floor, hitting two three-pointers. Kovaloff was a perfect 4-for-4 from the free throw line and very effective in scoring her own shot.
Camy Aguinaldo (Senior/Honolulu, HI) didn’t have her best shooting night, but still hit double digits with 15 points to her name. The senior grabbed seven rebounds and two steals.
Rilee Price (Junior/Brea, CA) and Sydney Gray (Junior/Central Point, OR) each scored five points and made quite the impact on the defense as the duo scored 12 rebounds together.
How it happened
Price and Kovaloff would open the game with a few layups to get the Boxers on the board in the opening minutes. Kovaloff would then find some space on the next possession and score a three-pointer before taking two free throws to give himself seven points in the first quarter. Aguinaldo joined the offensive barrage by connecting earlier from outside the arc Madison Dunlop (Sophomore/Palmer, AK) drove a three of their own to give Pacific a 15-8 lead after the first 10 minutes.
The Boxers took a 10-point lead in the second quarter Kaylee-Brooke Manuel (Freshman/Nanakuli, HI) came in with a lay-up. Gray got involved with her first basket from the night before Hannah Stone (Sophomore/Eugene, OR) found the bottom of the net with her jumper. In what turned out to be a low scoring half, Pacific would have a 30-20 lead going into halftime.
Willamette started the second half very well and narrowed the deficit to just five points, forcing a Pacific time-out. The timeout was well timed as the Boxers quickly jumped to a 10-point lead and created a nice cushion on the four minutes into the third period. Kovaloff continued her hot shooting with a jumper on Pacific’s last possession in the third quarter, giving her team a 46-36 lead in the final 10 minutes.
The two teams would trade buckets for most of the fourth quarter with Kovaloff leading the way on the offensive end. The Bearcats narrowed the lead to six points, but the Boxers made their free throws across the piece to end the top half of the conference game with a win.
By the numbers
- Pacific scored 26 points in the paint.
- Pacific won the rebounding blow 33-29.
- Three Boxers (Kovaloff, Gray, Price) played over 30 minutes.
The Boxers hope to start another streak when they head to Tacoma, Washington on January 28 at 6 p.m. to take on Pacific Lutheran.
For the latest information on Pacific Athletics, visit GoBoxers.com. You can also find the Boxers on social media at @GoBoxers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.