Whitworth Hits 20 of 23 Free Throws to Defeat Willamette, 66-53

Wilson Scores 11 Points, Earns Four Assists and Two Steals, on Senior Night

By Robert McKinney, Athletics Communications Director, (503) 370-6110

SALEM, ORE. -- Whitworth University sank 20 of 23 free throws and scored 15 points off turnovers, as the Pirates defeated Willamette University, 66-53, on Saturday, Feb. 16 at Cone Field House. Emily Travis made 9 of 11 free throws and scored a game-high 23 points for the Pirates, while Kendra Lahue added 18 points and hit 6 of 7 three-point shots.

The Pirates advanced their record to 19-6 overall, 12-4 in the Northwest Conference. Whitworth tied for third in the regular season NWC standings and will be the #3 seed for the NWC Tournament. The Pirates will take on Whitman College in the semifinals on Thursday, Feb. 21 in Walla Walla, Wash., at 6 p.m. (PST).

Willamette fell to 2-22 on the season, 2-13 in the NWC. The Bearcats will conclude the season on Tuesday, Feb. 19 at Linfield College in McMinnville, Ore. Game time is set for 6 p.m. (PST). The match-up was originally scheduled for Nov. 27, but was postponed at that time due to food poisoning suffered by the Linfield women's basketball team during a trip to California.

Against Whitworth on Saturday, the Bearcats were led by senior guard Sophie Wilson (Port Townsend, WA/Port Townsend HS), who scored 11 points, provided four assists and earned two steals. She has now scored 410 career points, including 72 three-pointers.

Wilson and fellow senior Jo Johnston (Jr., C, Missoula, MT/Florence-Carlton HS) were honored prior to the game as part of Senior Night activities. Johnston, who has junior eligibility, achieved eight points and four rebounds against the Pirates.

Jojo DeLong (So., G, Santa Clarita, CA/Canyon HS) scored nine points for the Bearcats, while Rebecca Josephson (Jr., G, Fair Oaks, CA/Del Campo HS) and Alexa Beeson (Jr., G, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS) each achieved six points. Josephson also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds.

KC McConnell joined Travis and Lahue in double figures for Whitworth, as she chipped in 10 points. Kayla Johnson scored nine points for the Pirates to go along with seven rebounds.

Willamette started the game strong, as the teams battled through six lead changes and two ties in the first six minutes. The Bearcats trailed 10-9 at the 14:35 mark, but moved in front on a layup by DeLong 13 seconds later. Willamette added another six points -- five by Wilson -- for a 17-10 lead with 13:12 left in the half.

The Pirates rallied with eight straight points to surge into an 18-17 lead at the 11:09 mark. McConnell scored the final four points of the run on a layup and a jumper.

A 3-pointer by Wilson gave Willamette the lead, but McConnell tacked on another layup for a 20-20 tie. The score was tied 23-23 with 7:41 remaining in the half, before Whitworth reeled off 13 consecutive points to take charge at 36-23. Lahue completed the run with a pair of 3-point baskets.

DeLong sank 1 of 2 free throws with 2:48 on the clock to end a scoring drought of 6:58 by the Bearcats. Willamette cut the lead to 36-27 when Daena Mau (So., G, Aiea, HI/Punahou School) added a 3-pointer, but the Pirates registered the final four points of the half to take a 40-27 advantage into the break.

The Bearcats reduced the deficit to nine points with a quick 6-2 run to begin the second half. Whitworth responded with an 8-0 run that included two 3-pointers by Lahue around a layup from Johnson. The Pirates claimed their largest lead at 60-38 with 8:31 remaining. Willamette got as close as 64-53 on a 3-pointer by Beeson with 1:52 left.

Whitworth's 20-for-23 success at the free throw line (87.0%) highlighted the shooting statistics. The Pirates shot 30.6% from the field (19 of 62) and made 8 of 15 three-pointers (53.3%) Willamette was 19 of 55 (34.5%) on field goals, including 7 of 21 from 3-point range. The Bearcats sank 8 of 11 free throws (72.7%).

Willamette also recorded a 44-38 rebounding lead. Josephson's nine rebounds were followed on the Willamette chart by six rebounds each from Julia Brand (So., F, Kaneohe, HI/Punahou School) and Mackenzie Lamson (Jr., F, Portland, OR/Lincoln HS).

BOX SCORE
Whitworth University 66
Willamette University 53
Sophie Wilson scored 11 points for the Bearcats. She also earned four assists and two steals.

Sophie Wilson scored 11 points for the Bearcats. She also earned four assists and two steals.