Whits Down 11, Rally to Win 4th Straight

News Release Date:
Saturday, December 12

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- With first-year guard Kelly Peterson scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds, Whitman College rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit to knock off Eastern Oregon University 56-52 Saturday night on George Ball Court in Sherwood Center.

Kelly Peterson

Winning its fourth straight game, injury-riddled Whitman improved to 5-3 on the season while dropping the Mountaineers to 6-5.

With Whitman up 56-54 in the closing seconds, Eastern Oregon had a chance to force overtime but Salena Leavitt missed two free throws with just 1.7 seconds left on the clock.

Peterson, who also had three steals and three assists, pulled down the rebound and was fouled. She made both free throws to polish off the Missionary victory.

Mary Madden

Mary Madden, a first-year forward and Peterson's high school teammate in Huntington Beach, Calif., added 13 points and seven rebounds for Whitman. Seniors Michelle Krall and Hilary White chipped in with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Whitman shot just 33.3 percent for the floor for the game but hustled for 17 offensive rebounds and outboarded Eastern Oregon 40-27 overall.

Eastern Oregon scored the first four points of the game and never trailed in the first half. The Mountaineers shot their way to a 33-22 lead at the break, making five of six 3-point attempts while shooting 50 percent from the floor during the first 20 minutes of action.

Michelle Krall

Whitman outrebounded Eastern Oregon 19-15 in the first half but made just eight of its 27 field goal attempts (29.6 percent).

Samantha Flett's 3-pointer opened the second-half scoring and widened Eastern Oregon's lead to 36-23. White countered with a two-point bucket for Whitman, but the Missionaries took another injury hit when junior starter Anna Forge went down with an apparent knee injury at the 18:21 mark.

Whitman, which started the game with three key players already sidelined by injury, stayed within reach over the next few minutes thanks to three free throws by Peterson and a 3-point bomb from Madden.

Krall, who was hobbled to start the season, scored seven unanswered points and blocked a shot on defense as Whitman sliced its deficit to 41-38. The Missionaries finally pulled even at 42-42 when Madden hit a jumper and Emilie Gilbert, a first-year guard, swished two free throws.

With just under seven minutes left to play, Krall drove the lane and canned a short jumper for Whitman's first lead of the night at 44-42. She added two free throws at the 6:17 mark to keep the Missionaries in front 46-44.

The Mountaineers forged two more ties, but White's driving layin from the wing and Madden's two free throws kept Whitman on top 50-48 with 3:39 left on the clock.

After Eastern Oregon's Shaylee Neilsen made just one of three free throws, Peterson drilled a 3-pointer from the top of the key for a 53-49 Missionary lead with three minutes remaining. Neilson connected 30 seconds later from the 3-point line to knock Whitman's lead back to a single point.

Those were the last points the visitors would score, however. Krall drew a charge with 1:41 remaining, and Peterson grabbed two offensive rebounds, the second of which led to a White free throw with just 15 seconds left. 

After Eastern Oregon misfired on its last chance to tie from the free throw, Peterson pulled down her 13th rebound and iced the game at the other end with two free throws.

Leavitt paced Eastern Oregon with 12 points and five assists. Flett and Ashlee Michelson scored 11 points apiece for the Mountaineers.

Whitman lost to Eastern Oregon 62-53 late last month in a tournament game played in Caldwell, Idaho.

Whitman continues non-conference play next Friday when it travels to Lewiston, Idaho, to play Lewis-Clark State.

Box Score

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