SALEM, Ore. – Hannah Munger became George Fox University's career leader in blocked shots with 288 and the visiting Bruins clinched a share of their sixth straight Northwest Conference women's basketball title with a 73-38 thumping of the Willamette University Bearcats Saturday evening here at the Cone Field House.
Munger recorded five blocks against the Bearcats, enabling her to surpass the 287 blocks by Tammy Lewis from 1985-89. Only a junior, the 6-5 center also scored eight points to pass Liz Stephens for eighth on the career scoring list with 1,198, and grabbed 12 rebounds.
George Fox, ranked No. 3 all season in both NCAA Division III national polls, is now 23-0 overall and 14-0 in the conference, two games ahead of runner-up Lewis & Clark College, and has clinched home court advantage in the NWC Tournament with their sweep of the Pios. Willamette, meanwhile, fell to 1-22 overall and 0-14 in the conference.
The Bruins never trailed after Arianna Mohsenian's layup gave them a 2-0 lead a minute into the game, and the only tie was 2-2 on Kaileigh Westermann's layup 13 seconds later. The Bruins then reeled off six points in a row on two layups by Keisha Gordon around one by Hayley Cusick. The Bearcats would not go away, three times climbing back within two, the last at 12-10 on a Westermann basket with 13:28 left in the half.
From that point on. the game belonged to the Bruins as they scored 14 in a row while holding the 'Cats scoreless for over seven minutes. Gordon and Megan Arnoldy scored four points apiece in the rally that concluded with a Munger putback to make it 24-10 with 6:10 left. Mackenzie Lamson ended the Bearcats' drought with a jumper at the 5:43 mark, but the Bruins continued to stretch their advantage and took a 35-18 lead into the break.
Baskets by Gordon and Arnoldy to open the second half gave the Bruins their first 20-point lead, and a three-pointer by Mohsenian with 14:29 left made it a 30-point game at 51-21. Their largest lead was 36 points at 67-31 on a rebound basket by Breezy Rinehart-Young with 4:20 remaining.
The Bruins shot .490 (25-51) from the field while holding the Bearcats to a .326 mark (15-46), and had a big advantage at the line, making 21-30 (.700) to only 8-15 (.533) for the home team. George Fox held a 39-30 edge on the boards, and forced 21 Bearcat turnovers whole committing only 12 themselves.
Gordon led the Bruins in scoring with 16 points, raising her career total to 1,591 and leaving her 30 shy of Melody Groeneveld-McMaster's Bruin record 1,629. Jami Roos added 10 points. Gordon passed out four assists, and Roos had four of the Bruins' 16 steals.
Westermann posted a double-double of 16 points and 12 rebounds, the only Bearcat in double digits.
NEXT: George Fox plays its final home game Friday against Linfield College at 6:00 p.m., and will be honoring its graduating seniors before the game. There will also be "Pink Zone" activities to promote breast cancer awareness, a celebration of "National Girls and Women in Sports", and recognition of George Fox's three 2010-11 conference championships in women's basketball, golf, and track and field ... Willamette goes to Whitman College Friday, also at 6:00 p.m. ... Both games will be parts of NWC doubleheaders, with men's games following at 8:00 p.m.