McMINNVILLE, Ore. – Linfield guard Taylor Solomon pumped in 16 of her game- and career-high 22 points in the second half, leading a solid effort by the underdog Linfield Wildcats, who fell 69-61 to unbeaten and nationally ranked Whitman Friday night inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium.
Sarah Anderegg scored a team-high 21 points, one of four players to reach double figures in scoring for the No. 5 Missionaries (14-0, 5-0 NWC). Heather Johns netted 19 points, Meghan White added a double-double with 11 points and a dozen rebounds, and Tiffani Traver provided 12 points, four assists and four steals.
Solomon went 8-for-19 from the field, catching fire in the second half with a flurry of three consecutive 3-pointers that kept the game in doubt until the final minutes. Kaely Maltman added 12 points while pulling down a team-high four rebounds for the ‘Cats (5-9, 1-4 NWC).
Linfield's only lead in the game came during the first few minutes when Jessica McMillan hit a mid-range jumper to put the Wildcats in front, 4-2. From there, Linfield kept it a two-possession game, but never quite surged in front, managing an 18-all tie after a 12-foot jumper by Katelyn Henson with 9:31 left in the opening half.
With the game nip-and-tuck, Wildcats guard Quincey Gibson (Sr., Issaquah, Wash.) provided a momentary spark with a block on an attempted layup by Marah Alindogan that landed out of bounds at the six-minute mark. Johns and the Missionaries answered with a jumper on the ensuing possession, putting Whitman up 22-18.
The game continued its back-and-forth pacing, before Whitman's Traver hit the game's first 3-pointer, pumping the Missionaries' lead to six points with 5:24 left in the half.
Whitman's largest lead of the half was eight, 34-26, coming by way of Johns' jumper with 34 seconds on the clock.
Entering the break, Johns led all scorers with 12 points. Henson paced Linfield with seven while Solomon had six. The teams combined for 18 first-half turnovers, 11 by Linfield. Maltman corralled four rebounds for the ‘Cats during the game's first 20 minutes and Anderegg led Whitman with four caroms.
Whitman opened the second period with a 7-0 run for a 39-28 advantage. During the run, Traver connected on her third 3-pointer with 18:04 remaining. McMillan canned a jumper at the 17:47 mark for the Wildcats' first bucket of the half.
The Missionaries maintained a comfortable cushion, opening up leads as large as 16 with 7:20 remaining.
Solomon heated up with a back-to-back 3-pointers at the 6:01 mark to bring Linfield to within 10, 60-50. On the Missionaries' next possession, Johns answered with a three of her own before Solomon delivered yet another long-range basket, giving Linfield new life.
The Wildcats continued to chip away, but Anderegg's two free throws with two minutes remaining gave the visitors a nine-points lead, sealing the game's outcome.
For the night, Linfield shot 47 percent from the field to Whitman's 38, but the Missionaries forced 21 Wildcat turnovers and attempted 20 more shots.
AHEAD: The Wildcats entertain Whitworth Saturday with tipoff set for 6 p.m. Live webcast coverage starts at 5:50.