McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Four double-digit scorers helped Whitworth hold on to a late lead as the Pirates downed the Linfield Wildcats 69-53 Friday evening in a Northwest Conference matchup inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Emily Travis (21), Kendra Lahue (12), Kayla Johnson (11) and KC McConnell (11) led the way in scoring for the Pirates, who outrebounded the ‘Cats on the day 43-38. Coming into the game, Travis was tied with Johnson in points per game for the Pirates, each averaging 10.2.
Linfield dropped its fourth straight contest with the loss, and now sits at 1-13 in NWC play and 2-18 on the season overall.
Tyra Barawis came off the bench and scored a season-high 12 points, and Kaely Maltman and Taylor Solomon added eight points apiece for the ‘Cats. Tegan Grunwald scored two points and grabbed five rebounds while playing outstanding defense for Linfield.
Both teams were sloppy with the ball, as three total turnovers in the first minute prevented any scoring. Lahue responded to a 3-pointer from Solomon with eight straight points, as the Pirates jumped in front 8-3.
Grunwald fought for an offensive rebound and then dished the ball out to Katelyn Henson who drained a three. Maltman followed with a layup on the Wildcats' next possession to knot the score at eight apiece.
The Pirates (18-6, 11-4 NWC) fought back, however, and a slick give-and-go from McConnell to Travis came in the midst of a 12-0 Whitworth run. A three from Solomon with 8:33 to go finally ended the nearly six-minute dry spell, and put the score at 20-11 in favor of the Pirates.
Back-to-back treys from Travis and Lauren Picha pushed Whitworth in front by 16 and forced Linfield to burn a timeout with 6:24 left until the break. The Pirates continued to add to their lead, as a pair of free throws from Lahue put the score at 31-13 in the closing minutes.
A putback from Maltman capped off a 9-0 run by the ‘Cats and made the score 31-22 less than a minute before halftime. The Pirates knocked down a last second shot and headed to the locker room with a 33-22 advantage.
Lahue led all scorers with 10 in the first, and Maltman and Solomon had eight points each for the ‘Cats. Both teams turned the ball over eight times in the opening 20 minutes, though the Pirates shooting percentage of 44 was much better than the Wildcats' 29.6. Linfield cashed in with 10 points off of turnovers, while Whitworth benefitted from just a pair.
Henson and Maltman each had three fouls by halftime, and the latter was forced to exit just a minute into the second half after picking up her fourth.
Barawis made her presence known early in the second, as four points and a pair of rebounds from the post had the ‘Cats within seven, 36-29. An ensuing long-range shot from Alex Christensen put the score at 36-32 five minutes into the second.
In the blink of an eye, Whitworth stormed back in front, and a free throw from Bethany Fleming had the Pirates back up by 10, 46-36.
Grunwald alertly grabbed an offensive rebound on a missed free throw and converted the layup. Four straight free throws put the ‘Cats back into striking distance with 8:23 left as the score stood at 48-44. An ensuing fast-break layup from Tasha Rowland had the ‘Cats within two, and pushed Whitworth head coach Helen Higgs to burn a timeout.
Whitworth began to pull away down the stretch, as a jumper from Johnson with 4:39 remaining put the Pirates up 59-50. Linfield failed to challenge the rest of the way, as Whitworth separated itself through the final minutes to secure the win.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Henson (4) and Maltman (3) have a combined seven double-doubles in the 2012-13 season…Maltman came into the contest with a shooting percentage of 50.6, good for second in the NWC behind Whitman's Sarah Anderegg…Maltman leads the NWC in minutes per game (34.5), and Henson is fourth in the same category (32.1).
NEXT UP: Linfield hosts Whitman Saturday night before wrapping up the 2012-13 season with a home game against Willamette next Tuesday, Feb. 19. The ‘Cats and the Missionaries tip off at a special start time of 4 p.m.