Millikin Runs Past Whitworth 77-64

DECATUR, Ill. -- Millikin used a 13-2 run midway through the second half to pull away for a 77-64 win over visiting Whitworth in the opening game of the Big Blue's Coaches vs. Cancer Classic on Friday night.

Lexi Belcher scored 16 points and Kayla Johnson added 13 points and eight rebounds for the Pirates, who fell to 0-2 this season.

Whitworth took a 27-20 lead, its largest of the game, with just under five minutes to play in the first half following a jump shot by Kendra Lahue and a three-point play by Bethany Fleming. But Millikin scored eight straight points to take its first lead of the game, then went to halftime with a 35-33 lead following a coast-to-coast basket by Beth Welbaum in the final five seconds of the half.

Lauren Picha opened the second half with a three-pointer and then Johnson scored inside to give Whitworth a 38-37 lead early in the second half. But it would be the Pirates' final lead of the game as the Big Blue used an 11-3 run to go up 48-41 with under 15 minutes to play. But Whitworth hung around and was still within 53-49 when Jenna Cacchillo made a pair of free throws with just over nine minutes left. That is when Millikin used its decisive run to pull away.

The Pirates struggled from three-point range throughout the game, making only 4-19 (21%) from beyond the arc. Whitworth was especially cold from distance in the second half, making 1-11 three-point attempts (9.1%). Belcher and Johnson were Whitworth's only players to reach double figures and Johnson was the team's rebounding leader.

Crystal Zeigler led the Big Blue (1-1) with a game-high 25 points, while Cecily Aldridge added 18 points and 10 rebounds.

Whitworth will play Wisconsin-Whitewater on Saturday afternoon at 3:00 p.m. (CST).