McMINNVILLE, Ore. - Unable to score for an 11:26 stretch during the first half, Whitworth never found an answer to the Linfield defense, as the Wildcats upended the Pirates 53-36 Saturday evening at Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Gretchen Owens and Kaely Maltman were too much for the Pirates to handle, as the duo combined for 34 points and 17 rebounds. With the win the Wildcats broke a six-game losing streak to the Pirates, with their last win coming in 2007.
A night after dropping a tough Northwest Conference opener against Whitman, Linfield (4-3, 1-1 NWC) put the defensive clamps down on Whitworth (3-3, 1-1 NWC) during the first half. The Wildcats held the Pirates to just 21.4 percent shooting on their way to a comfortable 26-16 halftime lead.
Leading 8-7 at the 16:03 mark of the first half, Linfield took hold of the game with a 14-0 run over the ensuing 11:25. Whitworth, who was unable to score a point during the Linfield run, failed to find any rhythm on the offensive end of the floor.
Whitworth’s inability to knock down shots proved to be in the difference in the first half, as the two clubs tallied the same amount of rebounds and turnovers. The only success the Pirates had was a 3-of-7 clip from 3-point range.
Following a flawless defensive effort in the first half, the Wildcats did much of the same to the Pirates in the second half.
Stephanie Fennimore extended the Linfield lead to 33-18 four minutes into the half. Whitworth answered back with eight-straight points of its own, trimming the deficit to seven on a Lauren Pioha score with 11:17 remaining.
With a manageable deficit, the Pirates’ shooting woes continued, as Whitworth went scoreless over the next four minutes. After the lead got pushed out to 12, Owens provided the dagger with a 3-pointer from the right corner at the 6:24 mark.
The Pirates would never see the deficit dip into single digits the rest of the night.
Owens finished the game with a game-high 19 points on 8-of-14 shooting. Maltman added 15 points in the win. The two led a Linfield club that shot 45.1 percent from the floor.
Whitworth finished the evening shooting a 26.4 clip, while tallying just one assist as a team. Taylor LaMoreaux and Kayla Johnson paced the Pirates with eight points apiece.
NEXT: Linfield takes a break from Northwest Conference play Friday night, when the ‘Cats play host to Simpson at 6 p.m.