SPOKANE, Wash. – KC McConnell led a quartet of double-digit scorers as Whitworth rallied from a four-point halftime deficit for an 82-60 Northwest Conference women's basketball victory over Linfield Friday evening inside Whitworth Fieldhouse.
Whitworth (17-5, 11-2 NWC) went outside early in the second half, knocking down a trio of 3-pointers as part of a 17-4 run that put the lead firmly in Pirate control. Linfield (7-14, 3-9 NWC) cut the deficit to four, 50-46, on a Taylor Solomon layup with 10:06 remaining, but the home team responded with nine straight points and never looked back.
Solomon led the ‘Cats with 14 points, including two makes from beyond the arc, and Katelyn Henson added 10 points on 5-for-10 shooting from the field and also corralled a game-high 11 rebounds.
Kaely Maltman moved up to third all time on Linfield's career scoring ladder, but was limited to just eight points on the night. The Pirates allowed Maltman just four looks at the basket, but the senior also made good on 4-of-5 free throw opportunities.
Making half of their field goal attempts over the opening 20 minutes, Linfield led for much of the first half, including two six-point leads with 14:11 and 13:18 left on the clock, both times on Henson jumpers.
The Pirates never stayed far behind, however, knotting the score six times, the last at 28-28 with 6:12 to play. Linfield's defense held Whitworth scoreless the rest of the half, and after Quincey Gibson (Sr., Issaquah, Wash.) hit a jumper with 76 remaining, the ‘Cats held a 32-28 advantage as the buzzer rang.
McConnell scored the first basket of the second period, Lexie Zappone's layup with 14:11 remaining gave the Pirates their biggest lead of the game thus far, 45-36.
Whitworth hit 45.5 percent of its field goal attempts over the final 20 minutes, and also capitalized on a whopping 21 free throw chances, sinking 19, to turn a close game into a landslide victory.
The Wildcats cooled off significantly in the second half, shooting 35.5 percent from the floor and a paltry 12.5 percent (1-for-8) from the 3-point line.
Kayla Johnson scored 15 points and hauled in a team-high eight rebounds, Zappone added 13 points and Alexic McLeod contributed 12 off the bench in the Pirate victory.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Maltman moved past Linfield Athletics Hall of Fame member Julie Morgan on the all-time scoring list, totaling 1,197 points for her career…Henson registered her second double-double of the season…Whitworth won the rebounding battle 44-29…the Wildcats blocked a season-high seven shots, getting three from Jessica McMillan.
AHEAD: Linfield heads to second-ranked Whitman for a 4 p.m. Saturday afternoon matchup in Walla Walla.