TACOMA, Wash. – Redshirt junior Emily Travis tied a Whitworth women's basketball record with 14 free throws as the Pirates handed Pacific Lutheran a 67-54 loss on Saturday in Olson Auditorium. With the win, Whitworth (14-5, 7-3 NWC) gave head coach Helen Higgs her first weekend sweep in Tacoma.
"I thought we had an amazing defensive effort tonight," Whitworth head coach Helen Higgs said. "We did a great job limiting PLU from getting the shots they wanted."
In a repeat of Friday night, the Bucs struggled offensively early until Travis got Whitworth on the board with a pair of free throws at the 15:59 mark. Pacific Lutheran (6-11, 3-7 NWC) regained a two point lead, but senior Emily Guthrie nailed a three-pointer on Whitworth's next possession to give the Bucs their first lead of the night. The Pirates used baskets from juniors Jamie Lyons, Kayla Johnson, Bethany Fleming, senior Lauren Picha and freshman KC McConnell to go on a 12-2 run and extend their lead to 11 points, but the Lutes answered. Amber Stokes' layup with 1:49 left in the half cut Whitworth's lead to two points, but Johnson sank a pair of free throws and got a fast break layup on a McConnell steal to give Whitworth a 24-18 halftime lead.
Despite PLU opening the second half with a three to get within as many points, the Pirates continued to push as Whitworth led by as many as 18 points in the second half. The Lutes were able to get within six points on a Sarah Barnes three-pointer with 3:34 remaining in the game, and then again on a Samantha Potter lay in during PLU's next possession, but Whitworth was sealed its victory from the charity stripe. The Pirates hit 11 of 12 free throws in the final three minutes of the game.
"Great free throw shooting, especially down the stretch, was key," said Higgs.
Led by Travis' 14-for-15 from the line, Whitworth finished the night shooting 88.9 percent (24-27) from the charity strip. The Bucs recorded assists on half of their 20 field goals, and used 15 offensive rebounds to get 13 second chance points. The Pirates had 10 steals and forced 19 turnovers, which they converted into 15 Whitworth points.
In addition to Travis's 14 free throws, she hit three field goals and finished the night with a season high 20 points and career high to lead the Pirates. Kayla Johnson had 11 points for Whitworth, while Emily Guthrie finished the night with nine points. Sophomore Katara Belton-Sharp led the Bucs in rebounding, pulling down five boards. Four Pirates finished the night with four rebounds apiece. Four Pirates also had two assists, while three Bucs recorded two steals in the game.
Megan Abdo and Sarah Barnes had 10 points each to lead the Lutes. Samantha Potter just barely missed a double-double, finishing the night with eight points and a game-high 10 rebounds. Megan Abdo led PLU with three assists, while she and Chrissy Swope each had three steals for Pacific Lutheran.
Next, Whitworth will host Lewis & Clark at 6:00 pm on Friday, February 1st in Whitworth Fieldhouse. The game will be televised on cable station SWX.