Feb 04, 2020

Bruins Upend Pacific In Newberg To Even Season Series

A Winning Tradition

 
  • NCAA D-III National Champions (2009)
  • Three NCAA "Final Four" appearances (2009, 2012, 2015)
  • Six NCAA "Elite 8" appearances (2005, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015)
  • Nine NCAA "Sweet 16" appearances (2000, 2005, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016)
  • 14 NCAA National Tournament appearances in 18 years (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • 12 Northwest Conference Championships (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2015, 2016, 2018)
  • 25 straight winning seasons (1994-2018)
  • 14 Top 25 national rankings (2000, 2001, 2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018)
  • Three NCAA Division III National Coaches of the Year
  • Six NCAA Division III Region Coaches of the Year
  • 11 Conference Coaches of the Year
  • 20 All-Americans
  • One Academic All-American
  • Three Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year Finalists (Justine Benner - 2015, Keisha Gordon - 2012, Katy Campbell - 2008)
  • One Ad Rutschman Small College Athlete of the Year Winner (Kristen Shielee - 2009)
  • One George Fox Pasero Team of the Year (2009)
  • One Slats Gill Sportsperson of the Year Award (Scott Rueck - 2009 finalist)
 

By Josh Nutter

NEWBERG --- Locked in; that's an appropriate description of the George Fox women's basketball entering Tuesday night's showdown with Pacific. The Bruins entered the game on a four-game winning streak with a chance to vault themselves into a tie for second place in the NWC standings.

Recap

The Bruins' four-game hot streak can be attributed to the depth of talent on the GFU roster. While the senior starting five, spearheaded by the Emily Spencer-Emily Holder duo, is what powers the Bruins, the impact of the George Fox bench has been increasingly evident in recent games, with standout performances and strong relief minutes from the likes of Cassidy Posey and Kaylee Bishop. The Boxers took the first matchup between the two squads in a 61-47 win in Forest Grove in early January.

The Bruins and Boxers came out exchanging buckets early, Emily Holder opened things up with a three for the Bruins and added and got another layup just over a minute later as the Bruins jumped out to a 12-4 lead with four minutes off the clock. The Boxers closed out the quarter on a 7-3 run to narrow the margin to a 15-11 Bruins lead at the end of the quarter. Holder led all scorers with five points after the opening frame.

Pacific knotted up the score at 21-21 four minutes into the second quarter as the Boxers continued to make a run at the Bruins. Hailey Hartney responded with a dart assist to Holder to retake the lead 23-21 with just under six minutes to go in the half. Pacific shot back with a three its first lead 24-23 with 4:37 to go. Kaylee Bishop was having none of it for the Bruins, delivering a deep three from Kylin Collman's assist to jump back ahead in the hotly contested matchup. The halftime score was a 29-28 Pacific lead. Holder led the Bruins with 7 points, followed by Bishop with six.

The Bruins came out strong to start the second half and went on a 10-3 run to take a 38-32 lead at the five-minute mark in the third quarter. Spencer had a pair of layups to help spur the George Fox run. The Boxers wouldn't go away as they responded with a 7-0 run following a timeout to take a 39-38 lead. Pacific was up 43-40 going into the fourth quarter.

The Bruins entered the fourth quarter with a battle ahead of them, trailing 43-40. Collman knotted up the score at 44-44 with 7:30 remaining in the game on a pair of free throws as both squads bucked up for a race to the final buzzer. Pacific held a 51-49 lead with four minutes to go when Collman found an open lane and drove to tie it up at 51. Spencer hit a deep three to claim the Bruins first lead of the second half 54-51 with 2:15 left on the clock. Pacific called a timeout with 1:36 remaining as the Bruins and Boxers went to the huddle preparing for an intense final 96 seconds of play. Collman got a steal on the ensuing Pacific possession and Bruins coach Michael Coppolino called a timeout of his own with one minute to go in regulation. Both squads exchanged empty possesions before the Bruins called a timeout with 33 seconds remaining.

The Boxers intentionally sent Collman to the line with a 54-51 lead with 30 seconds left. Collman hit both free throws to put the Bruins ahead 56-51 and Pacific called a timeout to draw up a play with 30 seconds still on the clock. Pacific nailed a three to bring the Bruins lead down to 56-54 with 22 seconds left. The Bruins used their final timeout after the Boxers bucket. Pacific sent Collman back to the line with 20 seconds left on the inbound play. Collman nailed both shots to put the Bruins up 58-54. Pacific called another timeout and then proceeded ti miss a three, which was rebounded by Collman with 11 seconds left in the game. Collman was fouled immediately and went back to the line with a chance to put the game away. Collman missed the first but sank the second to finish off the Boxers 59-54 to earn a big NWC win for the Bruins.

Top Performers

The Bruins seniors are in peak form for the stretch run of the NWC season and they showed it Tuesday night. Holder and Spencer had 13 points each for the Bruins and Collman added 12 on 10-for-12 shooting from the free throw line in the game's crucial closing moments. Holder and Spencer had flashes of brilliance defensively in the contest, denying the Boxers driving lanes and snagging three steals apiece. The Bruins claimed the win thanks to strong numbers in a trio of crucial stat categories, as they had a winning margin in points in the paint, turnovers, and free throw shooting. George Fox outscored Pacific 30-22 in the paint, had nine turnovers to the Boxers 16 while 17 points off turnovers and shot 13-of-16 from the stripe compared to 6-of-8 by the Boxers. Those numbers helped fuel the George Fox win, particularly as they won those battles in the second half.

What It Means

The Bruins have rounded into form for the second half of NWC play, avenging two of their three losses in conference play with a chance to complete their revenge tour next week at Whitman. They sit at 16-4 on the season and 8-3 in NWC play, now tied with the Boxers for second place thanks to the win. 

What Happens Next

George Fox hosts the Lutes of Pacific Lutheran on Friday night at 7 p.m. at home to close its two-game homestand. The Bruins knocked off PLU 64-50 in Tacoma back in their previous matchup in January.