Peterson's Free Throws Lift Whit Women

News Release Date:
Friday, January 2

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Jenele Peterson swished two free throws with six seconds left on the clock to lift Whitman College to a 44-43 victory over Pacific University Friday night in Sherwood Center.

Jenele Peterson

In what was the Northwest Conference opener for both schools, Whitman overcame a horrid shooting night to run its season record to 9-1. Pacific, which led throughout the contest until the closing seconds, fell to 1-8 on the season.

With first-year players Erica Schultz and Julianne Erbe combining for 26 points, Pacific worked its way to a 24-15 halftime lead and was ahead 36-25 midway through the second half. Whitman clawed its way back, getting two free throws from Jennifer Keyes and buckets from Rebecca Sexton and Hilary White to close the gap to 41-40 with 1:36 remaining.

After Schultz scored for Pacific, Peterson converted a Boxer turnover into a Whitman layup, trimming the Missionary deficit to 43-42 with a minute left. Michelle Krall blocked Pacific's next shot, but Whitman turned the ball over on its next possession and was forced to foul.

After the Boxers failed to capitalize on the front end of a one-and-one free throw opportunity, Ellen Vertatschitsch rebounded and advanced the ball to midcourt before the Missionaries called a time-out with seven seconds left on the clock. Peterson, who was fouled while accepting the inbounds pass, then stepped to the line to make both ends of her one-and-one.

The game ended with a final bit of drama when Pacific rushed the ball up the right side of the court for Erbe's layin at the buzzer. The official closest to the play made an immediate call that the ball didn't leave Erbe's hand until the buzzer sounded.

Led by Erbe's seven rebounds, Pacific outboarded Whitman 42-34 but was guilty of 23 turnovers. Whitman, which was playing its first game since Dec. 13, shot just 30.2 percent from the floor and missed all 16 of its 3-point attempts.

Rebecca Sexton

Sexton led Whitman with 11 points, six rebounds and four blocked shots. The 6-foot-3 sophomore made five of eight shots from the floor and is shooting 60.5 percent on the season, which tops the NWC.

Peterson had 10 points, five assists and three steals. White added eight points, and Vertatschitsch chipped in with seven points, seven rebounds and four steals.

As a team, Whitman made 12 of 14 free throws and is now shooting 80.1 percent from the charity stripe for the season. The Missionaries entered the weekend with an 80.8 free throw percentage, the fourth-best mark in NCAA Div. III.

Erbe picked off seven rebounds to lead the Boxers on the backboards. Mallory Goldammer snared six rebounds and Brittney Anderson had six.

After Pacific's Rochelle Reeves scored the game's first two points, Peterson scored inside courtesy of a nifty pass from Krall to even the game at 2-2. Ahead 6-5, the Boxers pulled away on a 16-2 run that included a nine-minute span in which Whitman failed to score. The Missionaries got untracked a bit over the final three minutes of the first half, outscoring Pacific 8-2.

Down by nine at intermission, Whitman rallied to within five points on three separate occasions in the first five minutes of the second half. Pacific answered the last of those runs with six straight points to lead by 11 with 10 minutes left. From that point on, Whitman outscored the visitors 19-7 to pull out the one-point win.

White contributed three baskets and Jessica Brice added two more to fuel the closing Missionary run. 

Whitman stays at home Saturday to host George Fox while Pacific travels to Spokane to play Whitworth. Both games start at 6 p.m.

Box Score

- 30 -

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