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WBSK: GEORGE FOX 86, LINFIELD 54 No. 5 Bruins Beat Cats to Clinch NWC Home-Court
McMINNVILLE, Ore. - With an 86-54 win over the Linfield College Wildcats Saturday night here at Ted Wilson Gym, the 5th-ranked George Fox University Bruins clinched a share of their fourth straight Northwest Conference women's basketball championship and secured home court throughout the NWC Tournament coming up in two weeks.
George Fox improved to 21-2 overall and 14-0 in the conference with its 17th straight win, two games ahead of the second-place University of Puget Sound with two games left. The Bruins swept the Loggers in their season series and have the head-to-head tiebreaker if the two should still wind up in a tie. Linfield fell to 6-17 overall and 4-10 in the conference.
The Bruins jumped out to an 8-0 lead on a layup by Hannah Munger and consecutive three-pointers by Keisha Gordon. The Wildcats got on the board with a basket by Lindsey Gummersall, and after a three by the Bruins' Lindsay Keener made it 11-2, went on a 10-1 tear to tie it 12-12 with 13:15 left in the half. Nadra Evans had eight of those points on two threes and a short jumper.
Elise Kuenzi broke the tie with a basket for the Bruins at the 11:30 mark and the Bruins led the rest of the game, though the Wildcats stayed close for a while behind Gummersall's 11 first-half points. The Bruins were up 24-19 when Gordon hit two free throws for a seven-point lead with 6:25 to play, then Munger took over, scoring seven straight George Fox baskets on six layups and a putback. She finished with 16 in the half as the Bruins took a 38-28 lead into the break.
The Bruins opened the second period with a rebound goal by Kuenzi and a trey by Gordon, making it 43-28. Gummersall hit a three from the left corner to cut it to 43-31, but that was as close as the Wildcats would get again.
The Bruins took their first 20-point lead of 57-37 on a three by Arianna Mohsenian with 12:48 remaining, and their largest lead was the final score, which came on a three by Carrie Myers at the 1:08 mark. One night after setting their season high in points in an 84-42 win at Willamette University, the Bruins topped it against the Wildcats.
George Fox finished with a .516 shooting percentage (33-64), including 11-26 on threes, and out-rebounded the Wildcats 44-20. Linfield hit .408 from the floor (20-49) and was 9-24 from downtown.
Munger led all scorers with a career-high 22 points, hitting 10-14 from the field, while Gordon added 16 points and Kuenzi had her second double-double of the season with 13 points and 12 boards. Kuenzi and Gordon each handed out seven assists.
Gummersall tallied 19 for the Wildcats, making 7-11 shots, with Evans and Kelsey Forrest contributing 10 each. Gummersall, Forrest, and Kelsey O'Neil had three rebounds apiece. Evans passed out four assists.
NOTES: The Bruins have now won 33 straight games against NWC competition in regular season games, and 33 straight against NWC opponents in all games including conference tournament and post-season games ... George Fox will try to clinch the NWC title outright Friday at home against Lewis & Clark College at 6:00 p.m. The Bruins shared the '07 and '08 crowns with Puget Sound before winning it by themselves last year with a 16-0 conference record en route to a 32-0 season and the NCAA Division III national championship ... Linfield hosts Whitman College Friday at 6:00 p.m. ... Both games will be followed by men's NWC games at 8:00 p.m.