SALEM, Ore. – Junior Kendra Lahue nailed a career-high six three-pointers in the Whitworth women's basketball team's 66-53 win over Willamette University in Cone Field House on Saturday evening. Whitworth ended the 2012-13 regular season with a sweep in Oregon.
"It was great to end the season with a road sweep as we enter into the playoffs," Whitworth head coach Helen Higgs said.
Though Willamette (2-22, 2-13 NWC) scored first, Whitworth (19-6, 12-4 NWC) quickly retook the lead on a three-pointer from senior Emily Travis. The teams traded leads before the Bearcats went on an 8-0 run to jump out to a 17-10 lead. The Pirates responded with an 8-0 run of their own and regained the lead on a long two from freshman KC McConnell. The teams continued to trade leads until Whitworth went on a 20-4 run over the last 9:46 of the half to take a 13-point lead into the locker rooms. The Pirates led the Bearcats 40-27 at halftime.
After the break, Willamette was able to cut Whitworth's lead to single digits, when a basket from Katie Kalugin at the 18:40 mark pulled the Bearcats within nine points. Lahue answered with her third three-pointer of the night and followed it with two more to extend Whitworth's lead to 18. Willamette pulled within 11 points on an Alexa Beeson three-pointer with 1:42 remaining, but Whitworth never allowed the Bearcats to get any closer.
"We had a tough night finishing inside tonight, but our three point shooting, especially by Kendra Lahue, and our free throw shooting were outstanding," said Higgs.
Whitworth's free throw shooting was key in the win, as the Pirates went 20-for-23 (87 percent) from the line. Willamette held a 44-38 rebounding edge, though Whitworth was able to grab 18 offensive boards that the Bucs converted into 19 second-chance points. The Pirates also had 11 assists on 19 made field goals. The Bucs had12 steals in the game and forced 19 Bearcat turnovers.
Emily Travis wrapped up the Oregon weekend with her second 20-point game in a row, setting a new career-high with 23 points to lead the Pirates. Kendra Lahue added 18 points from her six three-pointers, while KC McConnell chipped in 10 points. Lahue and Travis combined for Whitworth's eight three-point baskets in the game. Junior Kayla Johnson led Whitworth in rebounding with seven rebounds, while Emily Travis had five boards. Junior Jamie Lyons had a team-high four assists. Five Pirates had two steals each.
Sophie Wilson led the Bearcats with 11 points. Jojo DeLong added nine points, while Jo Johnston chipped in eight points for Willamette. Rebecca Josephson led the Bearcat rebounding with nine boards, while Mackenzie Lamson and Julia Brand each grabbed six boards. Sophie Wilson had four assists for the Bearcats, while Josephson had three steals for Willamette.
Whitworth will play in the Northwest Conference Tournament on Thursday, February 21st. Updates on times and opponents will be posted on the Whitworth Athletics website (www.whitworthpirates.com) as they become available.