Women Win Opener 70-55 at La Verne

News Release Date:
Friday, November 16

Box Score

Walla Walla, Wash. -- The Whitman Women's Basketball Team started off their 2012-13 season with a 70-55 victory on the road against La Verne University. Whitman's balanced offensive attack proved to be the deciding factor with four players scoring in double figures, led by Heather Johns' 16 points.

After battling back and forth early in the first half, Whitman's defense began to clamp down. After a jumper gave La Verne the lead with 10:03 left to go in the first half, Whitman's defense would force the Leopards into five turnovers and 0 for 5 shooting over the next six minutes.

La Verne saw it's last lead of the game with 9:00 left in the first half before Meghan White sank two free throws to put Whitman ahead 17-16. Those free throws began an 11-0 run by the Missionaries. "We started to pull away from them toward the end of the first half," said head coach Michelle Ferenz. "And it really was because of our defense and our ability to get to the free throw line." Whitman went 7 of 8 from the line during the six minute 11-0 run.

Whitman continued its run to the end of the first half pushing their lead out to 37-24. The 22-8 run in the last ten minutes of the first half proved crucial for the women. "La Verne is a good team and they want to put you under pressure," Ferenz commented. "Our women did a great job of dealing with that pressure and also providing outstanding pressure on the defensive end." Sophomores Hallie Buse, Heather Lovelace, and junior Marah Alindogan each chipped in four points during Whitman's run at the end of the half.

La Verne made a charge in the second half, whittling the lead down to seven points with 15:50 left to play, 43-36. However, Whitman began to open it back up, when Johns made three jump shots and a free throw, scoring the only points in the next three and half minutes of play. A sophomore transfer from St. Martin's University, Johns went seven of ten from the field and pulled down five rebounds in her first game as a Missionary. Fernez noted, "Heather played very well both on the offensive and defensive end tonight."

The Leopards kept the game from getting out of reach, with some clutch defense of their own. "We had too many turnovers tonight," said Ferenz. "That is something we are going to need to clean up quickly." The Leopards had 12 steals on the night and forced Whitman into 25 turnovers.

Junior Sarah Anderegg scored 14 points on the night, shooting four of seven from the field and six of eight from the free throw line. Anderegg averaged seven points per game last season and after game one of the 2012-13 campeign, looks ready to help fill the hole left by the graduation of First-Team All-NWC guard Jenele Peterson.

Tiffani Traver, a junior from Oregon City, shot two of four from three point range on her way to 12 points against the Leopards. She added four boards and two assists in the victory.

White, a junior post, was Whitman's top rebounder last season and once again showed why she's one of the best rebounders on the west coast. White dominated on the boards Friday, bringing down 10 rebounds in 27 minutes. She also contributed 10 points to the Whitman victory making her the only player in the contest to record a double-double.

One of the keys to game was how many times the Missionaries were able to go to the line. Whitman went to the free throw line 28 times in the game and converted 19 of them, including 11 of 13 in the first half. On the opposing side, La Verne only went six of ten from the line.

La Verne's Lindsey Foster led the way scoring 14 points and grabbing seven rebounds, both game-highs for the Leopards.

Looking ahead to tomorrow's game, Ferenz mentioned, "La Verne and CMS play very different styles of basketball. Tonight we saw La Verne play up tempo and try to get out quick on fast breaks. CMS wilil go with a half court offense and we are likely to see a lot of zone defense. We didn't see that very much tonight. We will need to make small adjustments before the game tomorrow afternoon."

Although Whitman has won nine of its last ten season openers, the women got back on the right track tonight after losing last season's opener. That loss snapped a string of eight straight season opening wins for the Missionaries.

The Missionaries move to 1-0 and the Leopards move to 0-1, this being the season opener for both teams. Whitman continues it's pre-season Los Angeles trip when it takes on Claremont-Mudd-Scripps tomorrow at 4pm. Whitman is then off until the Saturday after Thanksgiving when they take on Northwest University in Whitman's home opener.