SPOKANE, Wash. - Emily Guthrie and Lauren Picha scored 16 points apiece and Whitworth tallied 13 offensive rebounds on its way to a 65-58 win over Linfield Friday evening at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
Despite shooting just 38.7 percent from the field, Whitworth (10-8, 5-3 NWC) overcame its poor shooting performance by dominating the offensive glass. In addition to outrebounding Linfield (9-8, 4-5 NWC) 38-30, the Pirates forced the Wildcats into 16 turnovers.
With Gretchen Owens leading the way with a game-high 26 points, the Wildcats shot 46 percent from the floor.
Whitworth controlled the pace early, jumping out to a 19-12 lead on a Jenna Cacchillo layup at the 12:40 mark of the first half. Using baskets from Owens, Chrissy Baumgartner and Kaely Maltman (Jr., Sandy, Ore.), Linfield quickly erased the deficit with seven-straight points.
The Pirates built their lead back up to four, prior to a Brynna Fuller 3-pointer with just under a minute remaining in the first half.
Coming out of the break with a 34-32 advantage, the Pirates found it hard to put away the ‘Cats in the opening minutes of the second half. Taking a four-point lead on two separate occasions, Whitworth finally extended its lead to 51-46 on a Picha 3-pointer at the 11:51 mark.
After a basket from Owens trimmed the deficit to three, Picha responded with another 3-pointer. Just over a minute later Kayla Johnson swished home a jumper, giving the Pirates their biggest lead of the night at 56-48 with 8:41 remaining.
Linfield answered back with a 7-2 run, cutting the Whitworth lead to 58-55 with 5:50 on the clock. It would be as close as the ‘Cats would get the rest of the way, as Linfield hit a scoreless spell over the ensuing 4:43.
During the stretch the Wildcats went 0-of-6 from the floor and committed two turnovers.
Guthrie and Picha proved to be difficult matchups for the ‘Cats on the perimeter, as both players knocked down four 3-pointers. Jamie Lyons scored 10 points to round out a trio of Pirates in double figures.
Maltman added 15 points and seven rebounds in the loss.
NEXT: Linfield heads south to Walla Walla Saturday for a 6 p.m. game against Whitman.
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