Second-Half Rally Carries Women to Win

News Release Date:
Tuesday, January 20

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Rallying from a 14-point deficit in the first half, Whitman College shot past Whitworth University 61-54 in Northwest Conference women's basketball action Tuesday night in Spokane, Wash.

The victory gives Whitman sole possession of second place in the conference. The Missionaries are 5-2 in the NWC and 13-3 on the season. The loss dropped Whitworth to 4-3 and 10-6.

With the game tied at 48-all with 7:36 left to play, Whitman outscored the Pirates 13-6 the rest of the way to wrap up the win. Whitworth made just one of 10 shots from the floor as the game slipped away. 

Whitman trailed 31-27 at intermission, but Missionary sophomore Jenele Peterson scored 10 of her game-high 14 points in the second half to spark Whitman's comeback. Jennifer Keyes, a first-year guard who added nine points, also keyed the rally with two 3-pointers in the first minute of the second stanza.

Junior Hilary White hit the backboards for Whitman for a game-high 10 rebounds. The Missionaries, who edged Whitworth 37-36 on the glass, also got eight rebounds and eight points from sophomore Rebecca Sexton. Anna Forge, also a sophomore, chipped in with eight points.

Whitman made 13 of its 26 shots from the floor in the second half and finished at 41.4 percent for the game. Whitworth made just of seven of 27 shots over the final 20 minutes, shooting a cool 34 percent from the floor for the game.

Whitworth's high-water mark came with about eight minutes left in the first half, when a Liz Horiatis basket gave the Pirates a 23-9 lead. White and Keyes hit 3-pointers to get the Whitman comeback rolling, and sophomore Jessica Brice added a trey at the first-half buzzer to cut the Pirate lead to four points at the break.

Keyes connected on two 3-pointers in the first 63 seconds of the second half, sandwiching the shots around a Whitworth 2-pointer, to even the score at 33-33. The Pirates reeled off the next six points to regain the lead, but Whitman chipped away and pulled into 46-46 deadlock on baskets by Dawna Mello and Michelle Krall. After an Ellen Vertatschitsch layup gave the Missionaries a 48-46 lead, Ren Mallory scored for Whitworth to forge a final tie with under eight minutes left on the clock.

With Mello, Peterson, Krall and Forge providing the offense and White picking off two steals, Whitman jumped into a 56-50 lead and held steady in the closing minutes.

Whitman returns to the road later this week, traveling to Portland, Ore., on Saturday to play Lewis & Clark

Box Score

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