WALLA WALLA, Wash. – A series of scoring spurts enabled Whitman to surge past Linfield 62-52 in Northwest Conference women’s basketball action Friday night at Sherwood Center.
Missionaries star Jennifer Keyes canned four 3-pointers, including consecutive back-breakers in the second half, on her way to a team-high 16 points.
The teams entered the contest tied for fourth place in the NWC standings. Linfield fell to 8-7 overall and 2-3 in the NWC. Whitman evened its record a 7-7 overall while moving to 3-2 in conference play.
The loss overshadowed a balanced scoring effort by the Wildcats. Gretchen Owens pumped in 19 points, Kaely Maltman scored 15, and Katelyn Henson added 10 points. Maltman grabbed a game-high seven rebounds while Owens chipped in with six caroms and five assists. Henson contributed another six rebounds to go with three steals.
Whitman led by seven points early in the second half, only to watch as Linfield trimmed the margin to one, 34-33, on a layup by \ Henson. Later, it was Henson who gave the ‘Cats a momentary 39-38 lead with 10:41 to play. That’s when the Missionaries went on a 13-4 run to lead by nine, 52-43.
With the Wildcats reeling, it was Keyes who connected on back-to-back 3-pointers to give the hosts their biggest lead of the night, 60-47, with 2:46 to go.
Poor shooting and 11 first-half turnovers proved to be Linfield’s undoing during the opening half as the Missionaries built a 30-24 advantage at intermission. With Linfield shooting just 33 percent in the period, Whitman built a lead as large as 10 points, 23-13, at the 7:34 mark. The ‘Cats’ saving grace was Maltman, who converted 4-of-5 from the field and 5-of-6 from the free throw line to lead all scorers with 13 points at the break
For the game, Whitman shot 39 percent to Linfield’s 35. The Missionaries also outrebounded the Wildcats by a 45-41 count.
COMING UP: Linfield heads to Spokane for a Saturday night matchup at Whitworth’s Fieldhouse in Spokane. Tipoff is set for 6 o’clock with the internet broadcast starting at 5:50.