Lutes Rally Past Whit Women in Tacoma

News Release Date:
Friday, January 15

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Finishing the final five minutes on a 16-6 run to erase a four-point deficit, Pacific Lutheran rallied past the Whitman College women 58-52 Friday night in Tacoma, Wash.

With four players scoring in double figures, the Lutes improved to 2-3 in the Northwest Conference and 4-10 overall. Whitman slid to 1-4 in conference and 6-8 overall.

Hilary White

Senior Hilary White tallied a game-high 16 points and first-year teammate Kelly Peterson added 15 to pace Whitman. Senior Michelle Krall led all rebounders with nine. 

Trailing 23-20 at halftime, Whitman outscored the Lutes 13-6 to open the second stanza, moving in front 33-29 on two free throws by first-year forward Mary Madden. Peterson and White combined for nine points to spark the rally.

After Pacific Lutheran regained the lead, White drilled a 3-pointer to even the game at 40-40 with 8:24 left to play.

Krall followed with a jumper, White converted two more free throws and Peterson added a layup, thanks to a steal by senior Dawna Mello, to stake Whitman to a 46-42 advantage with five minutes left.

Dawna Mello

The Lutes answered with two baskets to forge a final tie, but Peterson put Whitman back in front with two more strikes from the charity stripe with 3:35 left on the clock.

Sara Backstrom's 3-pointer triggered a game-deciding seven-point spurt that gave Pacific Lutheran a 53-48 spread with 90 seconds remaining. Whitman twice closed to within three points before the Lutes pulled away in the closing seconds.

The Lutes had the hot hand to start the game, racing to an 18-11 lead after the first 13 minutes. White got the Missionaries back in the game, hitting a 3-pointer before making a defensive steal that led to a Peterson jumper. Mello's basket with four minutes left evened the count at 18-18.

Peterson, who also had five rebounds and three assists, had Whitman's most efficient night at the offensive end, making six of eight shots from the floor and both of her free throws. 

Whitman, which shot 40 percent from the floor as a team, also got six points apiece from Mello and junior Rebecca Sexton. The Missionaries made just three of 16 shots from the 3-point line.

Sexton, who made three of four shots from the floor, leads the NWC in field goal percentage. She has made 50 of 91 (54.9 percent) of her shot attempts.

The Missionaries stay in Tacoma to play Puget Sound at 6 p.m. Saturday.

Box Score

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