WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Whitworth women's basketball team dominated the first 10 minutes of action, but Whitman took control of the next 30 minutes as the Missionaries defeated the Pirates, 81-62, on Tuesday night in Sherwood Athletic Center.
Whitworth (16-6, 9-4 NWC) struck first, using a jumper from junior Jamie Lyons to get on the scoreboard and got out to a 12-4 in the opening eight minutes of play but Whitman (17-4, 10-3 NWC) stormed back to take a 13-12 lead at the 9:32 mark. The teams traded baskets and leads over the next two and a half minutes of play before Whitman was able to go up by six points. Junior Kayla Johnson' jumper pulled the Pirates within two points at the 4:39 mark, but the Missionaries rattled off seven points to gain their largest lead of the half—nine points—with 2:37 left in the half. Whitworth was able get Whitman's lead down to five, but the Pirates trailed the Missionaries 32-26 at halftime.
After the break, Whitworth was able to get within two points, but Whitman answered with a 9-0 run to lead by double digits. After being down by as many as 19 points, the Pirates were able to get within 11 points on a Johnson layup with just over six minutes to play, but the Bucs were never able to get any closer. After being fouled on a made basket, redshirt junior Emily Travis sank the free throw and pulled the Bucs within 13 points with two minutes remaining, but the Pirates were unable to overcome the double digit deficit. Whitman secured their victory by scoring 13 of their 22 second chance points in the second half.
Whitman outrebounded the Pirates 55-28, including 22 offensive rebounds that led to as many second chance points for the Missionaries. The Pirates shot 72.7 percent (16-22) from the free throw line and 35.6 percent (21-59) from the field. Whitworth finished the night with just eight turnovers; Whitman had 15 turnovers, but the Pirates were only able to convert them into nine points.
Kayla Johnson led the Pirates with a season-high 22 points on 9-19 shooting. Sophomore Katara Belton-Sharp scored a career-high 13 points, including 2-3 from beyond the arc and 5-6 from the charity stripe. Johnson led the Pirates on the glass, grabbing five rebounds. Belton-Sharp, freshman KC McConnell and senior Lauren Picha each had four rebounds.
Tiffani Traver led three Whitman players in double figures, with 21 points. Sarah Anderegg added 19 points, while Heather Johns chipped in 11 points. Meghan White grabbed a game-high 19 rebounds, including nine offensive boards, to lead the Missionaries in rebounding. Johns finished the night with eight rebounds and a game-high five assists.
Next up, Whitworth hosts George Fox in Whitworth Fieldhouse on Saturday, February 9th at 6:00 pm. It will be the final home game of the regular season and the seniors will be honored in the pregame.