by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. – Whitworth fended off a late rally on Sunday evening to end non-conference play with a 70-68 win over the hosting Cal Lutheran Regals.
The Regals (6-6, 3-0 SCIAC) scored the game's final seven points, but the Pirates (7-4, 2-0 NWC) came away with the win after a three-pointer from Mackenzy Iwahashi met iron.
"We played some of our best basketball in the first three quarters tonight," Whitworth head coach Joial Griffith said. "We shared the ball well and our communication on both ends of the floor was really good."
Prior to the final rally from the Regals, Whitworth built up a 15-point lead over the second and third quarters. In the second, the Pirates led 20-18 before an 8-0 run pushed the advantage to double-digits. Talia Brandner and Jordan Smith nailed shots from beyond the arc before Dorney closed the run with a layup.
After Cal Lutheran cut the deficit to five points early in the third quarter, the Bucs appeared to pull away with a 12-0 run over the next three minutes. Aguinaldo scored the first six points of the run before ceding way to Dorney for the next four. A pair of free throws from Madison Moffat closed the spurt with the Pirates up 59-42.
Though Whitworth took a 61-46 lead into the fourth quarter, Cal Lutheran refused to go away. The Regals opened the final period with 11 consecutive points, keyed by four each from Iwahashi and Kayla Watterman, before Brandner stopped the run with a layup.
The Pirates stretched the lead back out to nine points with a 7-4 run that culminated a three from Moffat, but Cal Lutheran scored the next seven points to pull within two. The Regals had a chance to take the lead with 26 seconds left, but Iwahashi couldn't convert a three and Whitworth escaped with the win.
One day after making fewer than 30% of their shots from the floor, the Bucs shot 45.2% (28-62) overall. Dorney led the way with an 8-11 day from the field.
Whitworth will return to action on Friday, January 4 when it opens Northwest Conference play at Lewis & Clark.