WHITTIER, Calif. – Whitworth could not overcome a 16-point first half deficit and fell 67-62 to Whittier College in the Poet Classic on Thursday afternoon.
The Pirates (4-6) rallied to briefly take the lead in the third quarter, but Whittier (2-8) bounced back to outscore the Bucs 19-17 in the fourth quarter.
Whitworth got out of the gate slowly for the second time in as many days in Southern California. Whittier grabbed a 24-11 lead through one quarter by shooting 60% from the field and forcing seven Pirate turnovers.
The Poets extended their lead to 27-11 early in the second, but Whitworth turned things around in the period, outscoring the Poets 24-15 to pull within 39-35 at halftime. Callie Harwood scored 11 points in the second period to rally the Pirates.
Whitworth continued to rally in the third quarter, taking its only lead of the game when Jessica Thoens scored to give the Pirates a 44-43 lead five minutes into the period.
Thoens hit a pair of free throws just over three minutes into the fourth quarter to get Whitworth to within 54-53. But the Pirates were able to score only one point over the next five minutes of action as Whittier extended its lead back to 62-54 with less than two minutes to play in the game. Whitworth missed five straight shots and three out of four free throws during that game-deciding slump.
Harwood finished with a game-high 19 points and dished four assists to lead Whitworth. Grace Douglas, who went 6-6 from three-point range in the Pirates' win at La Verne on Wednesday, continued her hot streak and made 4-5 from beyond the arc against Whittier for 12 points. Lexi Tinney came off of the bench for ten points.
Whitworth made 38.8% (19-49) from the field, despite the fact that the Pirates made 52.9% (9-17) of their three-pointers. But Whitworth committed 20 turnovers, offsetting a 42-32 edge in rebounding.
Cali Cubel had 17 points to lead four Poet players in double figures. Ana Youngblood finished with 12 points and eight boards. Whittier shot 19-55 (34.5%) from the floor.
Whitworth will conclude its trip to Southern California and its participation in the Poet Classic with a game against 24th-ranked Wheaton College on Friday afternoon.