A Critical Final Weekend for Women Hoops at Willamette and Linfield
Walla Walla, Wash. – The Missionaries finish the regular season on the road this Friday and Saturday with a chance to secure a home Northwest Conference Tournament game for the first time in the program’s history. If the Whits take both games, and the chips fall favorably, they could find themselves as conference champs.
Heading into the weekend, Whitman (11 – 3 NWC) sits in second place, a game-and-a-half behind Lewis & Clark (13 – 2) in conference, and one game ahead of third place George Fox (10 – 4) – the Missionaries have the edge in the tie-breaker against both teams. For complete NWC standings click Standings.
L & C, with a victory already behind them this week at Puget Sound, plays its finale at Pacific Lutheran (3 – 11). George Fox finishes at PLU Friday and Puget Sound (6 – 8) Saturday. A win Friday night at Willamette would guarantee the Missionaries, at least, a share of second place and a first-round conference tournament home game.
Whitman’s weekend foes, Willamette (2 – 11, 2 – 20 overall) Friday and Linfield (1 – 12, 2 – 17) Saturday inhabit the bottom spots in the conference standings, but as Missionary Head Coach Michelle Ferenz notes, “Both teams are better than their records indicate and it is always tough playing on the road in the Northwest Conference.”
Earlier in the season, at home, Whitman bested Linfield 69 – 58 on a night where all five Missionary starters hit double figures, led by senior forward Mary Madden (Huntington Beach, CA) who tallied 16, offsetting a huge night from Bearcat Katelyn Hensen who shredded the nets for 28 points on 13 of 20 shooting. Hensen enters this weekend as the conference’s fifth leading scorer (12.5 ppg.), behind Whitman post Sarah Anderegg (Jr., Redmond, WA) who ranks third, averaging 13.7 per contest. Hensen is also the conference’s fourth leading rebounder (8.8 rpg).
The Missionaries enjoyed one of their largest margins of victory this season, thirty-one points, at the expense of Willamette at Sherwood Center, 72 – 41. Whitman shot 63 % in the first half and Heather Johns (So., W. Richland, WA) led the way with 17 points as the Whits garnered their sixth conference win.
Anderegg still sits atop the conference in field-goal percentage (54 %) as the team also ranks first (43 %). The Missionaries are also ranked number one in scoring defense, giving up just 51.8 points per game, and in rebounding margin (+12.4). Junior post Meghan White (Huntington Beach, CA) averages 8 boards per game, fifth best in the conference. Johns averages six, and is second in the NWC in assists at 3.5.
Whitman has won 7 of their last 8 and own a road record of 8 – 3. Tip-off Friday at Willamette is 6 pm, and Saturday at Linfield is 4 pm.
For live streaming video:
Live Video Streaming: Willamette http://www.willamette.edu/athletics/bearcatnetwork/live/index.php
Live Stats: Willamette http://livestats.willamette.edu/live/wbb/
Whitman Sports Information Director