by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth women's basketball returns home this weekend for the Holiday Classic presented by Red Lion River Inn after opening its Northwest Conference season with a split weekend in Tacoma.
The Pirates take on Colorado College on Friday, Dec. 8 at 6:00 p.m. and squares off with Carroll College (Mont.) Saturday, Dec. 9 at 4:00 p.m. Both games will be in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
Fans can watch video or follow live statistics feeds for both games through links on the Whitworth women's basketball schedule.
The Pirates: Whitworth (4-2, 1-1 NWC) dropped its Northwest Conference opener last Friday to Puget Sound. The Pirates played the 19th-ranked Loggers tough for most of the game, but UPS pulled away in the third quarter and held off the Bucs in the fourth to come away with a 67-58 win. Four Pirates finished with double-figure scoring and Madison Moffat had a double-double.
The Bucs bounced back on Saturday by blowing out Pacific Lutheran 76-54. Moffat and Camy Aguinaldo both finished with double-doubles to lead Whitworth, and five Pirates totaled up double figure scoring. Whitworth won the rebounding battle 47-40 thanks to a total team effort where every Pirate who played grabbed at least one rebound.
The Opponents: Colorado College (2-4) comes into the week looking to string together wins for the first time this season. The Tigers defeated Johnson & Wales University 57-49 last Wednesday and play the Wildcats again Tuesday evening before traveling to Spokane. Casey Torbet and McKenzee Gertz lead the Tigers in scoring with 12.3 and 12 points per game respectively.
Carroll College (5-2) started its season with four straight wins and an exhibition victory over Division I Boise State. The Saints are 1-2 since the fast start, but won their most recent game against University of Providence. Hannah Dean leads Carroll with 15 points and 9 rebounds per game.
Green Light Grace: As far as Whitworth fans are concerned, Grace Douglas can fire away as much as she wants from behind the arc. The senior guard led the Pirates in three-point shooting last season by making 39% of her shots from downtown. This season, Douglas is shooting 46.7% from three-point-range.
Bombs Away: Douglas isn't the only Pirate firing away from beyond the arc. The Bucs are the second-best three-point shooting team in the Northwest Conference and make 32.5% of their shots behind the three-point line. They make the fifth-most threes in the country, 10.2 per game.
Speed Kills: Freshman point guard Camy Aguinaldo is ready to establish herself as one of the best facilitators in the Northwest Conference. Her 7.0 assists per game are sixth-best in the NWC and she's currently averaging 14 points and 5.5 rebounds per game as well
High Motor Madi: Madison Moffat established herself as one of the NWC's top rebounders last season when she averaged 7.7 per game. Her 3.3 offensive boards per game were third-best in the NWC. This season, Moffat is averaging 9.8 rebounds per game, which places her in fifth in the conference.
Not in Her House: The 2017-18 season has just begun and Chloe Quinnett already looks like one of the best defensive posts in the Northwest Conference. Her 1.67 blocks per game are third-best in the NWC and her 7.5 rebounds per game are sixth-best.
Cleaning the Glass: Heading into this weekend, the Pirates are the fifth-best defensive rebounding team in the nation with 35 defensive boards per game. Their effort on the defensive glass is one of the reasons Whitworth currently averages 5.8 more rebounds per game than their opponents.
Happy Holidays: This weekend, the Pirates host the Holiday Classic, presented by Red Lion River Inn. In addition to Whitworth's games this weekend, Whitman College will play twice in the Fieldhouse. The Blues square off with Carroll on Friday at 4:00 p.m. and Colorado College on Saturday at 2:00 p.m.
Looking Ahead: The Bucs get a week to focus on their finals before traveling to Texas to close out non-conference play. Whitworth's Lone Star road trip includes games against East Texas Baptist, Howard Payne, and Texas-Tyler.
The Coach: Heading into her 24th season at Whitworth University, Helen Higgs is the winningest and longest serving women's basketball coach in school history. She has a record of 351-238 heading into the 2017-18 season, the most wins in school history. Her winning percentage of .595 is also the best all-time among Pirate women's basketball coaches. Since becoming members of the NCAA in 1999, Higgs has put together the two best stretches of records in school history. Whitworth went 124-53 (.700) in the seven seasons from 1999-2005 and the Pirates were 78-31 (.715) over four years from 2013-2016. Higgs currently ranks among the top 50 in all of NCAA Division III for total number of victories by active coaches.