WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- The Whitman College basketball teams play their Northwest Conference home openers this weekend on George Ball Court in Sherwood Center.

George Fox University comes to town on Friday with Pacific University set to provide Saturday's opposition.

The women's games start both nights at 6 p.m. The men's games will follow at 8 p.m. 

Admission to Whitman athletic events is always free for Whitman community (students, staff, faculty), but because most students are still away from campus on semester break, this weekend's games are also free to the local community. 

Fans not in Sherwood Center for the games can follow the action online. Click here for live stats, or click here for a live video stream.

Both Whitman teams got off to a good NWC start last weekend, splitting their first two conference games on the road. Both Missionary squads lost on Saturday (the men falling in overtime) but bounced back with big wins on Sunday.

More information about this weekend's games follow below:

Women's Games

The Whitman women, 6-5 on the season despite a rash of injuries, are leading the NWC in 3-point shooting (32.3 percent), assists (14.64 per game) and assists-to-turnover ratio (.87 percent). The Missionaries are second in field goal shooting (40.3 percent) and field goal defense (36.7 percent).

Senior Hilary White tops Whitman in scoring at 11.5 points per game. She also averages 4.9 rebounds and is tied for fourth in the NWC in 3-point baskets with 19.

      Michelle Krall
        Hilary White

Senior Michelle Krall and junior Rebecca Sexton both average 8.1 points per game. Sexton, who also grabs 5.1 rebounds a night, is shooting 54.5 percent from the floor for the season. That is the third best field goal mark in the conference.

Other key contributors for the Missionaries include first-year players Kelly Peterson (7.5 ppg, 5.2 rpg) and Mary Madden (6.9 ppg, 3.8 rpg).

Jennifer Keyes, a sophomore guard, sparked Sunday's victory by hitting five of seven 3-pointers en route to a 17 points in just 17 minutes on the floor. Keyes has played sparingly this season because of injury

Whitman faces its biggest challenge Friday against George Fox, the defending NCAA DIII national champion. The Bruins are off to a 9-2 start (2-0 in conference) this season and ranked No. 10 in the latest USA Today/ESPN national poll.

Keisha Gordon, a 5-foot-10 sophomore guard, averages 15.6 points, 5.8 rebounds and an NWC-best 3.09 steals per game. Hannah Munger, a 6-foot-5 first-year post, leads the conference in blocked shots (3.09 per game) and field goal shooting (55.3 percent). Munger averages 10.8 points and 7.4 rebounds.

The Pacific women, who lost 67-46 at George Fox on Monday, take records of 4-5 and 1-1 to a Friday night game at Whitworth.

Rochelle Reeves-Howe, a 5-foot-7 guard, averages 15.7 points and 3.8 rebounds to pace the Boxers. Julianne Erbe, a 5-foot-11 sophomore forward, adds 14.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game.

Men's Games

The Whitman is off to a fine start at 7-4, a record that includes last Saturday's overtime loss as well as a two-point setback to nationally-ranked Wisconsin Whitewater.

The Missionaries lead the NWC in scoring (88.2 ppg), steals (12.36 spg), offensive rebounds (17.09 rpg) and 3-point field goal defense (25.4 percent). They rank second in scoring margin (+8.6 points), turnover margin (+7.55) and 3-point field goals (8.27 per game).

Sophomore Brandon Shaw leads a balanced attack with 13.9 points per game. He also averages 3.3 rebounds and a conference-best 2.82 steals per game.

      Brandon Shaw
        Peter Clark

Joining Shaw in double figures are freshman LuQuam Thompson (11.6 ppg, 3.2 rpg), freshman Peter Clark (11.5 ppg, 3.4 rpg), junior Justin Artis (11.1 ppg, 4.2 rpg) and junior Daniel Davidson (11 ppg, 4.5 rpg). 

Other key contributors include sophomore David Michaels (7.5 ppg, 5.3 rpg) and freshman Drew Raher (7.2 ppg, 4.1 rpg).

Freshman Brady Brent came off the bench last weekend to average 11.5 points in his first two NWC games.

Clark has 32 3-point baskets in his first 11 games, which tops the conference, while Davidson is 12 of 24 from the 3-point stripe, which is the third best accuracy mark in the NWC. Michaels is tied for third in offensive rebounding.

The George Fox men, who got past their Pacific counterparts 80-68 on Monday, are 2-0 to start the conference season and 5-6 overall. 

Alex Stockner, a 6-foot-5 senior, and Rich Smith, a 6-foot-7 junior, give the Bruins a strong one-two punch in the post. Stockner is shooting 57.4 percent from the floor, including 11 of 19 from the 3-point line (57.9 percent), while averaging 15.3 points and 6.2 rebounds. Smith adds 13 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

The Pacific men, who have lost three straight, take records of 4-7 and 0-2 to Whitworth on Friday night.

The Boxers, who lead the loop in rebounding margin (+7.8 rpg), have anchors in 6-foot-6 senior post Ross Bartlett (16.1 ppg, 10.1 rpg) and 6-foot-6 forward LeMar Anglin (13.5 ppg, 5.0 rpg). 

Bartlett already has double-doubles (points, rebounds) in six games this season.

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