Whit Women Clamp Down on Cats, Clinch Playoff Spot
News Release Date:
Saturday, February 11
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Whitman College turned up the defensive pressure in the second half, holding Linfield to just 14 post-intermission points, and clinched the No. 3 seed in the Northwest Conference playoffs with a 65-38 women's basketball victory Saturday afternoon in McMinnville, Ore.
Winning for the 11th time in 13 games, Whitman is 10-4 in the NWC (14-9 overall) as it heads to the final week of the regular season.
Undefeated George Fox has locked down the top seed in the four-team playoffs while Lewis & Clark is ensconced into the No. 2 slot. That means Whitman travels to Lewis & Clark for a first-round game in two weeks.
George Fox will host either Puget Sound or Whitworth in the other first-round playoff battle.
Whitman jumped on the Wildcats to start this afternoon's game, shooting its way to 8-0 and 10-1 leads in the first four minutes. But the Wildcats came scratching back on a 16-5 run to lead 17-15 with seven minutes left in the half.
Jumpers by Jenele Peterson, Kelly Peterson and Heather Lovelace put Whitman back in front by a point, but a final bucket by Linfield's Alex Christensen gave the Wildcats a 24-23 lead at the break.
After Gretchen Owens finished a three-point play for the home team to start the second half, Whitman regained the lead for good with a 10-0 spurt.
Ahead 38-33, the Missionaries ran off seven unanswered points to extend their advantage into double digits by the midway point of the second half.
Owens countered from the 3-point line for the Wildcats at the 9:16 mark, but senior Jennifer Keyes responded in kind on Whitman's next possession.
The Missionaries pulled away from there, ending the contest on a 20-2 run. Kaely Maltman's jumper with 5:11 left were the last points the Wildcats scored.
Kelly Peterson, who hit two of three shots from the 3-point arc, led Whitman with 14 points and three steals. Jenele Peterson added 13 points and three assists.
Whitman also got eight points and six rebounds from Meghan White and five points and eight boards from Tiffani Traver.
Other contributors included Mary Madden (4 points, 6 rebounds), Sarah Anderegg (5 points, 4 rebounds) and Keyes (5 points)
The Missionaries outscored Linfield 42-14 in the second half while shooting 58.3 percent (14-24 fg) from the floor over the final 20 minutes. That included five 3-point strikes in nine attempts.
Whitman won the rebounding battle 43-30 while holding the Wildcats to a 28 percent shooting night (14-50 fig).
Owens and Maltman combined for 26 of Linfield's 38 points. Only three other players scored for the Wildcats.
Whitman returns home for its final two regular season games, hosting Whitworth at 6 p.m. Tuesday and Willamette at 6 p.m. Friday.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com