Second-Half Surge Propels Women Past Basketball Bearcats
News Release Date:
Saturday, January 21
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- A 23-5 run to start the second half carried Whitman College to a 66-49 women's basketball victory over Willamette Saturday afternoon in Salem, Ore.
Winning its seventh straight game, Whitman ran its record to 6-2 in the Northwest Conference and 10-7 overall.
Willamette dropped its 10th straight game, slipping to 0-8 in conference and 1-16 on the season.
Whitman led by as many as nine points late in the first half, but the Bearcats crammed five points into the final 49 seconds to trim their deficit to 30-26 at the break.
The Missionaries opened the second stanza with an 8-2 spurt to push its advantage into double digits.
Ahead 42-31, Whitman then ripped off 11 unanswered points to vault into a 53-31 lead with less than 10 minutes left to play. Junior guard Kelly Peterson sparked the scoring spree with a pair of three-point plays in the paint.
Whitman twice stretched its lead to 24 points, both times on jumpers by senior point guard Jenele Peterson, who led all scorers with 17 points.
Willamette drew no closer than 14 points over the final several minutes.
Kelly Peterson (no relation to Jenele) added 15 points, making six of eight shots from the floor, handing out four assists and snaring four rebounds.
Six-foot sophomore Meghan White gave Whitman a third player in double figures. She had 10 points, six rebounds and a blocked shot.
Senior Jennifer Keyes scored just three points but distributed five assists. The Missionary defense got a boost off the bench from senior Anna Forge, who had three steals and a blocked shot, and sophomore Sarah Anderegg, who picked off four steals.
Other contributors for the Missionaries included junior Mary Madden, who finished with six points, five rebounds and three assists.
Whitman forced the Bearcats into 19 turnovers and helped their hosts to a poor shooting night. Willamette made just 17 of 61 field goal attempts (27.9 percent), which included a 2-of-17 night from the 3-point arc.
The Missionaries shot 42.2 percent from the floor (27-64) and 83.3 percent (10-12) from the free throw line.
Willamette had a better day on the backboards, collecting 23 offensive boards while out-rebounding Whitman 45-37.
Julia Brand came off the Bearcat bench to combine 11 points and four rebounds. Dora Rahib just missed a double-double with eight points and nine rebounds, and Maya McFadden added eight points and seven boards.
The victory, Whitman's 10 straight over Willamette in recent years, sends the Missionaries into the second half of the NWC season in third place in the standings.
Jenele Peterson, who started the night averaging an NWC-best 4.4 assists, had three more to push her career assist total 301.
Peterson's 17 points increases her career scoring total to 1,075, which moves her past 1986 graduate Mary Kincaid into 11th place on Whitman's all-time career scoring list.
Whitman jumped in front 5-0 to start the game and led 12-6 after Kelly Peterson drained a three at the 15:43 mark.
After the Bearcats closed to within 14-13, baskets by sophomore Tiffani Traver and Jenele Peterson put the Missionaries in front 18-13 as the first half neared the midway point.
With Whitman ahead 23-21, first-year center Heather Lovelace tallied five straight points for the Missionaries and Traver scored off an offensive rebound with 2:23 left in the half. That gave Whitman its largest lead of the opening 20 minutes at 30-21.
But Willamette, after having failed to score for almost seven minutes, pocketed five points in the final 49 seconds to make in a four-point game at intermission.
Whitman returns to western Oregon next weekend, playing at Lewis & Clark in Portland on Friday and at George Fox in Newberg on Saturday.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com