Basketball Teams Return to Conference Play with Road Trip to Lewis & Clark and Pacific University
Walla Walla, WA – With the Holidays behind them, the Whitman Men’s and Women’s Basketball teams return to conference play in earnest this weekend as they hit the road to face Lewis & Clark Friday and Pacific University Saturday. The trip commences a 9 day stretch where both hoop teams will play four road games, including a Tuesday night affair at Whitworth.
Forward Meghan White, Jr.
The Lady Missionaries take a 9 – 1 record and a share of first place in the Northwest Conference into this weekend’s matchups. At 2 – 0 in the NWC, Whitman shares the top spot with Whitworth and Friday night’s opponent Lewis & Clark, who is undefeated at 11 – 0 and ranked 6th by D3 Hoops.com and the USA Today Coaches Poll. The Pioneers are coming off an impressive 80 – 68 victory over #21 George Fox. Lewis & Clark also possesses the conference’s leading scoring in guard Kristina Williams who is averaging 20.4 points per game along with 8 rebounds. Missionary Sarah Anderegg, 6-2 junior from Redmond, WA., enters the game as the NWC’s third leading scorer at 14.9 per contest and the conference leader in FG % at 61.8.
Not only is this a huge conference road contest against a nationally ranked opponent, but Whitman would like switch the tide against the Pioneers who took all three games between the two schools last season, including a 71 – 69 overtime win in Portland late in the year, and a 5-point win in the conference tourney.
Saturday’s opponent, Pacific U., is 8 – 3 overall and 1 – 1 in conference. The Lady Boxers have won 2 of their last 3 and tout the conference’s top rebounder, Paige Jensen, who is yanking down well over 10 boards per game to go with her 11-point average. She’ll duel against Whitman’s Meghan White, 6-1 forward from Huntington Beach, CA., who is averaging almost 8 rebounds. Whitman took both games in the series last season, including a 72 – 60 win at Forest Grove.
Guard Josh Duckworth, Jr.
The Missionary Men look to rebound after a tough home loss against Hamline University last Saturday – the outcome snapping their 8-game winning streak. The Missionaries are 8 – 3 overall and their 2 – 0 conference record puts them atop the early season standings with #6 Whitworth. The Pioneers are 6 – 5 on the year and 0 – 2 in the NWC.
L & C owns two of the top sharp-shooters in the conference with guard Serg Ovchinnikov leading the NWC in three-point FG percentage at 48 % and guard Jason Luhnow fourth best at 44.5 %. Whitman counters with the second leading scoring average in the nation at 95.6 points per game, led by junior forward Ben Eisenhardt (Jr, Bainbridge Island, WA), whose 17 points per game is third highest in conference, and his recent excellent all-around play earned him the NWC Student Athlete of the Week.
The Pioneers won both games in last season’s head-to-head matchup.
In Forest Grove on Saturday, the Missionaries will meet a Pacific team that enters the weekend 6 – 3 overall and yet to play a conference game. After dropping its first two games, the Boxers have won 6 of their last 7. Forward Daniel Zitani leads a pair of hard rebounding players, averaging 7.6 boards; his partner in crime, guard Colin Wester, plucks down 7.1, placing them third and fifth in the conference respectively. Whitman’s Eisenhardt is fourth at 7.3.
The Missionaries swept the season series last year with the Boxers and have won 3 of the last 4 meetings.
The scheduling for this weekend’s double-headers is as follows: Women at Lewis & Clark 6 pm; Men at Lewis & Clark 8 pm. Saturday, Women at Pacific 4 pm; Men at Pacific 6 pm.
Live video for the Lewis & Clark games can be found at http://lcpioneers.com/; the Pacific games at http://goboxers.com/webcasts and live stats at http://goboxers.com/livestats.
The W Club will hold receptions during the intermissions at the Lewis & Clark games Friday. Men’s Head Coach, Eric Bridgeland, will speak at halftime of the Women’s game. Athletic Director, Dean Snider, will address folks before the Men’s game, and Women’s Head Coach, Michelle Ferenz, will talk at halftime of the Men’s game.
News & Notes: the Whitman lead the conference in scoring with 1,052 . . . Puget Sound is 2nd with 841 . . . Whitman forward Ryan Gilkey ranks first in FG percentage at 67.3 % . . . in this four game road stretch the Women will face the top four teams in conference: L & C, Pacific, Whitworth and George Fox . . . Meghan White ranks 3rd in NWC FG percentage at 56.2 %.