WBB Takes Dead Aim at Top Two Teams

News Release Date:
Wednesday, November 30, 2011

WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Whitman College women's basketball team can make a major statement this weekend when it opens the Northwest Conference season at home against the two teams picked to finish first and second in a preseason coaches poll.

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Defending NWC champ George Fox, ranked No. 3 nationally in NCAA Division III, comes to Sherwood Center Friday, to be followed by No. 18 Lewis & Clark on Saturday.

Both games tip off at 6 p.m. on George Ball Court.

The Missionaries, 1-3 to start their season, are due for some favorable bounces after suffering through three early setbacks by a total of 10 points.

Big leads slipped away in two of those losses; in the third instance, Whitman held a late one-point lead before falling to a nationally ranked NAIA opponent.

Tiffani Traver

In its one victory thus far, Whitman drilled Tufts by 19 points with rookie Heather Lovelace scoring 13 points and grabbing six rebounds in her collegiate debut. Senior Jenele Peterson added 12 points, four assists and two steals.

Coming off a 15-11 season, the Missionaries were picked to finish fourth -- two points out of third -- in the preseason poll.

Peterson, a team captain and point guard, leads Whitman in scoring early this season, averaging 14.5 points in Whitman's first four games.

Lovelace, a 6-foot forward/center, is averaging 9.0 points and 3.0 rebounds in her first tow games.

Other contributors to a deep Missionary rotation include junior guard Kelly Peterson (6.8 ppg, 3.2 rpg) and two sophomores, center Meghan White (5.8 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and guard Tiffani Traver (6.5 ppg, 4.0 rpg, 2.5 spg).

Also part of the mix are junior forward Mary Madden (5.2 ppg, 5.8 rpg) and sophomore forward/center Sarah Anderegg (6.2 ppg).

Senior sharpshooter Jenn Keyes ranks among the NWC leaders from the 3-point line, where she has knocked down eight of 18 attempts (44.4 percent).

Senior guard/forward Anna Forge has blocked six shots in her first four games while averaging 3.2 rebounds. Junior guard Shiann Dreadfulwater is adding 4.2 points and 3.2 rebounds per game.

George Fox Bruins

The Bruins have been a thorn in Whitman's side for the past five years, winning the last 11 meetings between the two schools.

Whitman's last victory (62-58) came in January of 2006, capping a four-year span that saw the Missionaries win six of eight decisions.

A year ago in Sherwood Center, Whitman was within three points with 12 minutes remaining before the Bruins pulled away. Last winter's game in Newberg broke in favor of George Fox after the Missionaries drew within four points with seven minutes left.

Hannah Munger, a 6-foot-4 junior center, has helped George Fox win its first four games this season, blocking 22 shots while averaging 14.8 points and 12.0 rebounds.

Senior wings Keisha Gordon (14.0 ppg, 7.8 rpg) and Arianna Mohsenian (9.0 ppg, 4.2 rpg) give the Bruins more firepower while sophomore guard/wing Hayley Cusick is scoring 7.2 points per game in the early going.

Jami Roos, 5-foot-7 first-year guard, is also off to a strong start, averaging 12.8 points while making 10 of 23 shots (43.5 percent) from the 3-point line.

Kelly Peterson

Lewis & Clark Pioneers

Before coming to Walla Walla on Saturday, the Pioneers take a 5-0 non-conference record to Spokane for a Friday night encounter with Whitworth.

Lewis & Clark scrambled past Whitman three times a year ago, the last time in the first round of the post-season playoffs.

Whitman led by six points early in the second half of that game before the Pioneers rallied on their home floor to win by nine.

In last winter's two regular season meetings, Lewis & Clark edged Whitman by three points in Walla Walla and broke free from a 55-55 tie to win by seven in Portland.

Prior to last winter, the two sides had split their season series in each of the four previous years. Prior to that, Whitman had won six straight games.

Kristina Williams, a 5-foot-9 guard and the reigning NWC Player of the Year, is averaging 15.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.8 steals to start this season.

Also scoring in double figures for the Pioneers are senior post Megan Spence (11.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg) and junior guard Sara Villanueva (13.4 ppg).

Senior forward Neva Hauser adds 7.0 points and 4.2 rebounds per game, and 5-11 senior Margaret Dowling (4.0 ppg, 3.8 rpg) gives the Pioneers more size down low.

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