Bruins clinch NWC title and will host district tourney
In the end, everything fell into place for the George Fox women's basketball team over the weekend, but not without drama or some skipped heartbeats.
The Bruins cruised to an 81-58 home win over Lewis & Clark Friday night and got the news they had been hoping for as Willamette upset No. 9 Whitman to break the tie between GFU and the Blues atop the Northwest Conference standings.
All that stood between No. 15 George Fox and the regular season title, as well as the right to host the NWC tournament this weekend, was a home game Saturday versus last-place Pacific.
The Boxers (4-12, 5-19) certainly made the Bruins sweat, though, after taking a 59-58 lead with 1:37 to play in the game.
Emily Spencer had a chance to regain the lead after being fouled with just seven seconds remaining, but missed on both attempts.
Forward Haylee Hutzler, however, saved the day for GFU by scrapping for the offensive rebound and drawing a foul. The junior coolly sank both free throws to make it 60-59 and the Bruins survived after Liana Tanaka's shot at the buzzer did not fall.
Hutzler scored a team-high 12 points, while Hailey Hartney added five points, six assists and five rebounds.
The Bruins (22-3, 15-1 NWC) rose to No. 14 in the d3hoops.com national poll and will host the fourth-place Pioneers (14-11, 9-7 NWC) in the conference tournament semifinals at 7 p.m. Thursday. Whitman (22-3, 14-2) fell to No. 13 and will have a rematch versus third-place Willamette (16-9, 12-4) in Walla Walla, Wash. at 6 p.m. Thursday.
George Fox 89, Lewis & Clark 86 -- The Bruins snapped a three-game losing skid Friday night, getting 19 points from Mason Green-Richards. Dylan Hamlett also scored 17 off the bench, with Thomas Rico (16) and Ryan Lacey (15) also scoring in double figures.
George Fox 89, Pacific 84 -- Green-Richards exploded for 30 points to help the Bruins (8-17, 4-12) finish the season with its first weekend sweep in league play.
George Fox 27, Lewis & Clark 9 -- The Bruins scored 15 runs in the first three innings and that was just the beginning of a 20-hit performance Saturday in the Northwest Conference opener for both teams. Thom Houston had perhaps the biggest day for the Bruins, going two-for-five with five RBIs and three runs scored. Jerred Seamons led the team with four hits. Isaac Olson (2-0) got the victory after five innings of relief.
George Fox 12-10, Lewis & Clark 10-2 -- The Bruins scored five runs in the bottom of the fifth to pull ahead 11-7, but had to survive a three-run rally by the Pioneers (1-9, 0-3 NWC) in the seventh. Sam Swenson went two-for-five with 3 RBIs to lead the offense and Zach Stouder (2-0) got the win in relief. It was much smoother sailing in the nightcap, as GFU (9-2, 3-0) used a five-run outburst in the bottom of the seventh to build on its 5-2 lead. Seamons and Dillon Blankenship had three hits apiece and Matt Voelzke (1-1) pitched 4.1 innings of relief to pick up the win.