Turnovers plague Wildcats in season opener

Junior guard Gretchen Owens (24) drives to the hoop as freshman forward Kaely Maltman (25) opens up for the ball and junior guard Abby Olbrich (18) tries to open up on Dec. 4 against Whitworth University. Joel Ray/For the Review

Junior guard Gretchen Owens (24) drives to the hoop as freshman forward Kaely Maltman (25) opens up for the ball and junior guard Abby Olbrich (18) tries to open up on Dec. 4 against Whitworth University. Joel Ray/For the Review

Women’s basketball battled against Whitman College in its first Northwest Conference game on Dec. 3.
A tough Whitman defense held Linfield to a mere 37 shooting percentage, resulting in a loss for the Wildcats, but the ’Cats won against Whitworth University on Dec. 4.
The ’Cats averaged 85.3 points per game during their three-game winning streak on Nov. 21-23 in California but fell short against the Missionaries, 55-65, on Dec. 3.
Throughout the game, Whitman pressured Linfield into 13 turnovers, which resulted in 15 points for the Missionaries.
Freshman post Kaely Maltman tallied a double-double against the Missionaries, scoring 13 points and 10 rebounds. Junior guard Gretchen Owens put up the team-high score of 24 points, while Whitman senior Jenele Peterson scored a team-high 17 points.
“Everyone came out strong on Friday, but we didn’t maintain that intensity the entire 40 minutes,” Maltman said. “We made some defensive mistakes and didn’t get some key rebounds.”
Despite their loss to Whitman, the ’Cats came out strong to defeat
the Pirates on Dec. 4. Since 2007, Linfield has been unsuccessful against Whitworth, so the win broke a six-game losing streak.
The Linfield defense kept Whitworth down to only 34 points throughout the game, and a 14-0 run for the ’Cats in the first half was enough to ensure their win.
Owens and Maltman together scored 34 of the team’s 55 total points and snatched 17 rebounds. Performances from junior guard Abby Olbrich and senior guard Stephanie Fennimore contributed to the long-awaited win.
“[Against Whitworth], we were able to refocus and bounce back from the tough loss with high energy,” Maltman said. “It was a great team win.”
With an overall record of 4-3 (1-1 in the NWC), the Wildcats aim to surpass their preseason ranking of seventh place.
The team is looking forward to competing against top-ranked George Fox University on Jan. 22 and challenging Whitman again in late January.
“I am excited to see how the rest of the season plays out,” Maltman said. “We have an amazing group of girls and coaches with very high potential.”
Next, Linfield will host Simpson University at 6 p.m. on Dec. 10. The ’Cats compete against Lewis & Clark College on Jan. 4 in Portland.


Katey Barger/Staff reporter
Katey Barger can be reached at linfieldreviewsports@gmail.com.

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