Senior Trio Lifts Whitman Women to Big Win Over Bearcats
News Release Date:
Friday, February 17
WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- With senior Jenele Peterson becoming the seventh player in school history to reach 1,200 career points, Whitman College clipped a bow on its best regular season in nearly a decade with a 75-51 basketball victory over Willamette Friday night in Sherwood Center.
Winning for 13th time in 15 games since the start of the calendar year, Whitman finished in third place in the Northwest Conference standings with a 12-4 record (16-9 overall).
Whitman travels to Portland, Ore., next Thursday for a first-round playoff game against second-place Lewis & Clark.
A victory in that game means the Missionaries would play next Saturday for the NWC's automatic berth in the NCAA Division III national championship field.
While Whitman plays at Lewis & Clark next Thursday, first-place George Fox will host fourth-place Puget Sound in that night's other first-round game.
Peterson was one of three Whitman seniors honored immediately after tonight's game. Also recognized in the post-game ceremony were seniors Jenn Keyes and Anna Forge.
All three seniors had an impact on the game, which Whitman controlled from the outset. The Missionaries led 40-24 at halftime and continued to pull away in the second stanza, leading by as many as 32 points.
Peterson finished with a team-high 19 points, elevating her career scoring total to 1,205 points, moving her into a tie with 1990 graduate Julie Slocum for sixth place on the all-time Missionary scoring list.
Peterson, who leads the NWC this season in assists, handed out seven more helpers in her final home game. She already ranks second all-time at Whitman in career assists.
Forge contributed 11 points and seven rebounds while Keyes, one of the top 3-point shooters in the NWC for the past four seasons, hit once from long distance.
Sophomore Tiffani Traver, who added 15 points for the Missionaries, had a perfect shooting night, hitting all three of her 3-point shots and both of her 2-point tries while going two-for-two from the free throw line.
Junior Mary Madden with 13 points gave Whitman a fourth player in double figures.
Whitman shot 50.9 percent from the floor for the night and out-rebounded the Bearcats 39-33. Sophomore Meghan White picked off seven boards to share game-high honors with Forge. First-year center Heather Lovelace came off the bench for five rebounds.
After the two teams traded buckets to open the game, Willamette took its only lead of the night at 4-3 when Kaileigh Westermann scored in the paint two minutes into the contest.
But Whitman junior Kelly Peterson responded with a layup 10 seconds later and the Missionaries stayed in front the rest of the night. Traver added another layup and then connected twice from the 3-point line for a 13-7 lead.
Two Forge jumpers and two Madden free throws made it a 27-14 game with eight-plus minutes left in the half. First-year Missionary Hallie Buse scored twice, once off an offensive rebound and once off her own steal, to help the home team coast into intermission. Buse also had three steals.
Westermann's bucket opened the second-half scoring for Willamette, but Jenele Peterson, Traver and Madden answered with three layups to give the Missionaries a 46-26 cushion. Peterson knocked down a free throw with 16:48 on the clock to reach the 1,200-point plateau in career scoring.
Seven minutes into the second half, Keyes took a pass from Jenele Peterson and lofted home the 137th three-point basket of her Whitman career. Peterson followed with a jumper while being fouled, and after she added the free throw, the Missionary lead was 62-30 with 12 minutes still left to play.
Willamette, which has struggled through a long season, slipped to 0-15 in the NWC and 1-23 overall. The Bearcats finish their season Saturday against Whitworth in Spokane.
Westermann, a Bearcat senior, had a fine night for Willamette with 21 points and 11 rebounds. Maya McFaddin chipped in with eight points while Julia Brand had seven. Rebecca Josephson chipped in with six points and four rebounds.
Whitman's 12-4 NWC regular season record is its best since the 2003-04 season, when the Missionaries went 13-3 and won a share of the conference title.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org