Women Broadside Pirates, Near Playoff Spot
News Release Date:
Tuesday, February 15
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- It's one down and one to go for a Whitman College women's basketball team in pursuit of the fourth and final Northwest Conference playoff spot.
Whitman knocked off visiting Whitworth 74-61 Tuesday night in Sherwood Center, improving to 8-7 in the NWC (14-10 overall) and grabbing sole possession of fourth place in the conference standings.
The loss dropped Whitworth (11-13, 7-8) into sixth place, one-half game behind Linfield College (12-10, 7-7).
Both Whitman and Whitworth finish the regular season later this week against Pacific University (6-17, 2-12) in Forest Grove, Ore. Whitman battles the Boxers on Friday with Whitworth set to play on Saturday.
Whitman can clinch the fourth playoff spot by beating Pacific on Friday, even if Linfield wins its last two games to pull even with the Missionaries in the final standings. Whitman holds the tie-breaker by virtue of its two victories over the Wildcats this season.
Linfield hosts George Fox (18-5, 12-2) on Friday and finishes Saturday at Pacific Lutheran (5-17, 3-11).
Whitman jumped on Whitworth early in Tuesday's game and led 35-18 by halftime. The Missionaries then opened the second stanza on a 21-11 run to widen their lead to 27 points at 56-29 with 12 minutes left to play.
The Pirates got their offense untracked at that point, outscoring Whitman 14-1 over the next four minutes to crawl back into the game.
Whitworth kept chipping away until Taylor LaMoreaux's three-point play in the paint closed its deficit to 63-52 with six minutes remaining.
Whitman's go-to player, junior point guard Jenele Peterson, answered back on the next Missionary possession, stepping up to hit a step-back 3-pointer that beat the shot clock and stemmed the tide.
Sophomore Mary Madden scored off an offensive rebound on Whitman's next trip down the floor. She was fouled on the play and added the free throw to put some air back in Missionary lead at 69-52 with just over four minutes left on the clock.
Two Whitworth buckets, one of them from the 3-point stripe, cut Whitman's lead to 71-59 at the two-minute mark, but first-year guard Tiffani Brewer scored off a back-cut to ice the victory.
Jenele Peterson led all scorers with 18 points and five assists. Brewer finished with 11 points, five rebounds and four steals.
Peterson and Brewer both hit a pair 3-pointers, as did junior guard Jennifer Keyes. Whitman was seven of 13 from the 3-point stripe while holding the Pirates to a five of 15 showing from long distance.
Whitman also got nine points from first-year forward Sarah Anderegg and eight points apiece from Madden and senior center Rebecca Sexton. Sexton also handed our four assists and snared four rebounds.
With eight rebounds (and six points), first-year center Meghan White paced Whitman to a 40-28 advantage on the backboards. Sophomore guard Kelly Peterson collected seven rebounds to go with six points.
Lexi Belcher led Whitworth with 15 points and six rebounds. Emily Guthrie buried three 3-pointers while combining 11 points with five rebounds and five steals.
Leading 15-14 midway through the first half, the Missionaries took charge with a 11-0 spurt sparked by 3-point bombs by Keyes and Kelly Peterson.
The Pirates briefly closed to within 26-17, but Whitman finished off the last four minutes on a 9-1 run that staked the home team to a commanding 35-18 lead at the break. White added to the late surge with two free throws and an offensive rebound putback.
Applying full-court defensive pressure for much of the half, Whitman forced the Pirates into 11 turnovers and outrebounded the visitors by a 24-14 margin. Brewer had three steals in the opening half while Jenele Peterson had 12 points on the board by intermission.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com