Heartbreak Again: Women Lose at End

News Release Date:
Saturday, January 16

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- A week after losing in the final seconds to Pacific, the Whitman College women relieved the nightmare with a 68-66 loss to nationally ranked Puget Sound Saturday night in Tacoma, Wash.

With her team down by three points with a minute left, Whitman senior Michelle Krall hit a jumper and then added two free throws with 23 seconds remaining to lift the Missionaries into a 66-65 lead.

Rebecca Sexton

Claire Ely missed a jumper on the ensuing Puget Sound possession, but Natasha Ludwig grabbed the offensive rebound and zipped a pass to first-year teammate Kelsey McKinnis at the 3-point line. 

McKinnis, who entered the game averaging 7.6 points, drilled her seventh 3-pointer of the night to vault the Loggers into a 68-66 lead.

After scrambling the ball across the mid-court line and calling time-out, Whitman got off a 3-pointer that failed to drop, giving Puget Sound the win.

Michelle Krall

Hard-luck Whitman, which lost two starters to injury prior to the start of the conference season, saw its record skid to 1-5 in the NWC and 6-9 overall.

Puget Sound, ranked No. 22 in one NCAA Division III national poll, is 13-2 on the season and 5-1 in league.

Rebecca Sexton, Whitman's 6-foot-3 junior post, made seven of 11 shots from the floor and all six of her free throws to finish with 20 points. She grabbed seven rebounds and two steals, handed out three assists and blocked a shot.

First-year guard Kelly Peterson also had a strong game for the Missionaries, making seven of eight from the floor en route to 16 points and five rebounds.

Whitman also got nine points and four assists from senior Dawna Mello, who was four of six from the floor, and senior Hilary White, who combined nine points with five assists and four rebounds. Krall and sophomore Jennifer Keyes finished with six points apiece.

Up 31-29 at halftime, Whitman stretched its advantage to 46-40 with 13 minutes left when Mello canned consecutive baskets, one of them a 3-pointer. The Loggers rallied to lead 48-46 but Peterson's two free throws squared the game at 51-51 with nine minutes remaining.

Kelly Peterson

After Sexton's jumper and a Keyes 3-pointer gave the Missionaries a five-point cushion, Puget Sound reeled off seven straight points for a 58-56 lead with five minutes left on the clock. Peterson's jumper tied the score, but Sarah Stewart's trey -- one of 11 Logger 3-pointers -- put the home team back in front.

Sexton swished four consecutive free throws down the stretch to keep Whitman close. Puget Sound inched in front 65-62 before Krall scored four points inside the final minute to give Whitman its momentary one-point lead.

Puget Sound got off to a quick start in the first half, moving ahead 20-11 after the first 12 minutes of play. Whitman still trailed by eight, 25-17, with just under six minutes remaining, but the Missionaries then closed out the half on a 14-4 roll. Sexton contributed six points to the run with White and Peterson adding four points apiece.

Both teams shot just over 42 percent from the floor, although Puget Sound was 11 of 21 from the 3-point line. Whitman was just five of 15.

McKinnis led the Loggers with 27 points. Jocelyn Riordan added 17.

Whitman returns to the road on Tuesday for a 6 p.m. game against Whitworth in Spokane, Wash. The Missionaries then host Linfield at 6 p.m. next Saturday in Sherwood Center.

Box Score

- 30 - 

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