George Fox surges to early lead, then builds upon it to dispense with Whitworth in Northwest Conference tourney opener

NEWBERG — No. 2-ranked George Fox made a clear and definitive statement Thursday evening in the opening round of the Northwest Conference women's basketball tournament: “We will not be stopped.”

The Bruin women employed their trademark stifling defense, accompanied by points scored in intense flurries, in mauling Whitworth 95-64 before a boisterous home crowd at Wheeler Sports Center.PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: GARY ALLEN - George Fox will meet No. 2-seeded Puget Sound in the conference tournament championship on Saturday evening at Wheeler Gymnasium.

George Fox rushed to a 7-0 lead. Thanks to back-to-back 3-pointers by veteran Nicole Blizzard and newbie Tavin Headings, the Bruins surged ahead 23-7 at the end of the first quarter.

The Bruins carried on with that momentum, entering halftime with a 43-25 lead, then opened the third quarter with a surge that increased the lead to more than 30 points at times. The Pirates had no answer for the Bruins, who were hitting on all cylinders before an appreciative crowd.

GFU coach Michael Meek went to his bench in the final quarter, giving his starters a well-deserved rest.

Kaitlin Jamieson led the way for the Bruins, scoring 18 points on 7-of-8 shooting from the field. She added seven rebounds and three blocks in 25 minutes. Justine Benner and Kimberly Frost both finished with 16 points. Benner recorded a career-high seven assists, and Frost earned five steals.

The Bruins, who improved to 26-0, advanced to the tournament championship game at 7 p.m. Saturday versus the No. 2 seed, Puget Sound.

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