WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Whitman seniors Sarah Anderegg and Meghan White combined for 34 points in their final home games inside the Sherwood Center as the second-ranked Missionaries rolled to an 80-53 Northwest Conference women's basketball victory over visiting Linfield Saturday evening.
With the victory, Whitman ran its perfect record to 23-0, including 14-0 against league opponents, while dropping Linfield to 7-15 overall and 3-10 in NWC action.
Wildcat veterans Katelyn Henson and Kaely Maltman finished as the only double digit-scorers on the visitors' side, contributing 15 and 14 points, respectively. Henson also finished with a team-high eight rebounds.
Sparked by Heather Johns' 3-pointer just 14 seconds after the opening whistle, the Missionaries raced to an 11-2 advantage with 16:49 on the clock. A trey from Taylor Solomon with 15:25 to play ended a near four-minute scoring drought for the Wildcats, but Whitman responded with an 8-3 run to gain an 11-point lead, 19-8.
The Missionaries converted at a rate a few percentage points higher than their counterparts (42.5 to 35.7 percent) over the opening 20 minutes, and had far more looks at the basket, knocking down 17-of-40 attempts compared to 10-of-28 for Linfield, in gaining a 39-25 advantage by the break.
Anderegg scored the first four points of the second half to push the spread to 18 points, 43-25, and Whitman's lead swelled to as many as 30 on Chelsei Brewer's layup with 9:41 to play. Maltman, Henson and Riley Graham (Sr., Scio, Ore.) spearheaded a 10-0 Wildcat run that make it a 65-45 game with 6:25 on the clock, only to watch the Missionaries rattle off 11 straight points to gain their biggest lead of the night, 31 points, with just about four minutes remaining.
Dani Krier (Sr., Eugene, Ore.) scored all six of her points in the final 2:50, including a buzzer-beating layup to reach the final count of 80-53.
On the night, Whitman shot 41.8 percent from the field, including 31.6 percent from beyond the arc. The Wildcats, meanwhile, hit 35 percent of their attempts, but made just two 3-pointers, missing all five opportunities in the second half.
Getting matching 12-rebound performances from White and Hailey Ann Maeda, the Missionaries outrebounded the visitors 53-36.
‘CAT SCRATCH: Knocking down 6-of-14 attempts from the floor, Maltman remained the conference leader in field goal percentage, hitting 59.2 of her attempts on the year…the senior has reached double figures in 20 of 22 games this season…Henson recorded back-to-back double figure performances for the first time this month…Krier's six points were a career high against a Northwest Conference opponent.
AHEAD: Linfield plays host to Willamette Tuesday evening inside Ted Wilson Gymnasium. Tipoff is at 6 p.m. in a matchup that was rescheduled due to the massive snowstorm to hit the Portland area the weekend of Feb. 7-8.