by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
PARKLAND, Wash. – Emma Janousek's last-second three-pointer sailed to the right of the basket as time expired, ensuring that Whitworth would escape Pacific Lutheran with a 74-71 overtime victory.
The win means that the Pirates (12-12, 7-8 NWC) maintain a chance to make the Northwest Conference tournament. In order for Whitworth to earn the final spot, Pacific (Ore.) must beat Linfield, and the Bucs need to win against Puget Sound.
Pacific Lutheran looked to be taking control of the game early, using a stifling 2-3 zone to hold Whitworth scoreless as the Lutes jumped out to a 9-0 lead. Four different Lutes scored during the run as PLU used the fast break to create mismatches in its favor.
Whitworth responded after a timeout. The Bucs emerged from the timeout in a full-court press and proceeded to score 15 unanswered points as the press forced PLU out of its offensive rhythm. Madison Abbott jump-started the Pirates' offense with a three-point play and Jordan Smith continued their momentum with a three-pointer on the next possession. Megan Dorney gave the Pirates their first lead of the game with a short-corner jumper.
The Bucs ended the first quarter with a 17-11 advantage and maintained a multi-basket lead for much of the second quarter. Pacific Lutheran battled back at the end of the period with a 6-2 spurt, keyed by a last-second three-pointer from Katie Taylor, and the teams entered halftime with Whitworth maintaining a 28-26 lead.
Neither team was able to take a lead of more than five points in the second half, setting up a thrilling finish. With PLU leading 61-60, Madison Abbott made a layup to pull Whitworth ahead. The Lutes responded with a layup and two free throws to take a three-point advantage. Whitworth got back within two points, but Camy Aguinaldo split her free throws to leave the Bucs down 1 with 11 seconds left.
Aguinaldo's redemption came just seconds later. After McKenzie Cooper made just one of her two free throws, Aguinaldo took the inbounds pass and raced coast-to-coast to tie the game at 67 with just four seconds left.
The sophomore's layup sent the game into overtime. Smith gave Whitworth an early lead in the extra period with a three-pointer and the Pirates sank just enough free-throws to come away with the win. Both teams made just one field goal in overtime.
Smith and Aguinaldo each finished with 12 points to join the Abbott sisters in double figures. Madison Moffat pulled down ten rebounds and made two key free throws in overtime.
Taylor and Madison Salisbury scored 12 and 11 points respectively to join Janousek in double figure scoring. Salisbury also grabbed 13 rebounds to earn a double-double for the Lutes.
Whitworth is back in action on Saturday when it closes the regular season with a must-win contest at Puget Sound. The game tips off at 4 p.m.