Late Free Throws Lift Women to 2OT Win

News Release Date:
Friday, February 4

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- On a night when Whitman College struggled at the free throw line, sophomores Kelly Peterson and Mary Madden knocked down two freebies apiece in the final minute to carry the Missionaries to a 65-61 double-overtime victory against Pacific Lutheran Friday night in Tacoma, Wash.

  Whitman 65,
Pac. Lutheran 61

  Box Score

Whitman, now 6-5 in the Northwest Conference and 12-8 on the season, led for much of the night and was up 51-45 with three minutes left in regulation.

Kelly Peterson

But Pacific Lutheran (3-9, 4-15) finished on a 6-0 run to force overtime with the game deadlocked at 51-all. 

Points were hard to come by in the first five-minute OT, and the Lutes had the ball and a 54-52 lead with just seconds remaining.

That's when junior Jenele Peterson rescued Whitman with a flurry of activity, picking off a defensive steal, missing the layup but then scoring on the offensive rebound putback to send the game to a second overtime.

Jenele Peterson

First-year forward Sarah Anderegg and Jenele Peterson opened the second overtime by making one free throw apiece (and missing one each). Anderegg then scored inside for a 58-54 Whitman lead with just under four minutes left on the clock.

After the Lutes answered with two points, Kelly Peterson made two free throws to restore the four-point Missionary cushion.

Pacific Lutheran wasn't done, however. Melissa Pixler's 3-point bomb, followed by Mandy Wall's jumper, gave the Lutes a 61-60 edge with 1:15 left.

Madden snared an offensive rebound on Whitman's next possession and was fouled. She made both free throws to put Whitman back on top by a point.

After Pixler missed a 3-point try at the other end for the Lutes, Jenele Peterson claimed the rebound, was fouled and made one of two from the line for a 64-62 Missionary advantage with 30 seconds left on the clock.

Pacific Lutheran's last possession ended with a turnover. This time it was Kelly Peterson headed back to the line with four seconds left, where she converted twice to clinch the laborious victory.

Rebecca Sexton

Kelly Peterson, who made all six of her charity tosses during the game, finished with a team-high 14 points.

Jenele Peterson, despite an off-night shooting the ball, added 13 points, six rebounds, four assists and two steals. Anderegg was good for 11 points and five boards.

Senior center Rebecca Sexton and first-year guard Tiffani Brewer both made four of six shots from the floor in scoring 10 points apiece. Sexton also blocked five shots while Brewer drilled two 3-pointers in the first half.

Madden, who scored five points while taking just two shots, grabbed a team-high eight rebounds. Junior Anna Forge collected six rebounds.

Mary Madden

As a team, Whitman made just 18 of 31 free throws on the night while the Lutes were deadly at the line, making 17 of 18. Pacific Lutheran was much less accurate from the floor, shooting 27.3 percent (18-66) for the game.

Wall led the Lutes with 15 points and 12 rebounds. Pixler and Sara Backstrom added 11 points apiece while Samantha Potter pulled down 10 rebounds.

In the first eight minutes of a back-and-forth first half, Kelly Peterson hit a pair of Whitman threes, the second of which forged a 10-10 tie. 

After the Lutes responded with a three of their own, Brewer canned two more Missionary 3-pointers as part of a 10-point run that had Whitman on top 20-13 with five minutes remaining. 

Pacific Lutheran pulled even at 25-25 with 37 seconds left on the clock, but Jenele Peterson fed Sexton for an inside bucket. After the Lutes missed their last shot, Peterson hit a jumper at the buzzer to give Whitman a 29-25 lead at the break.

The victory gives Whitman a season sweep of the Lutes, who have lost eight straight. The Missionaries won the first meeting 77-65 last month in Walla Walla.

Whitman, which has won four of its last five games, finished the night in a tie with Whitworth for fourth place in the conference standings. Whitworth lost in overtime tonight at Puget Sound.

Whitman stays in Tacoma on Saturday for a 6 p.m. game against Puget Sound.

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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; holden@whitman.edu