THOUSAND OAKS, Calif. -- This time the Pirates built on the strong first half.
Whitworth pulled away for an 81-62 win over Chapman in the women's Posada Royale Classic on Sunday afternoon at California Lutheran University.
The Pirates used balanced scoring and dominating rebounding to improve to 2-4 this season. The Panthers fell to 1-3 after dropping both of their games at CLU this weekend.
Following three losses in which the team either led or was tied at halftime, Whitworth finished this game in impressive fashion. The Bucs led by 14 points at halftime before eventually opening up a 23 point lead in the second half.
After Chapman jumped to an early 7-2 lead, Whitworth went on a 14-3 run to open up its own five point advantage. Lexi Belcher and Kayla Johnson each scored twice during the rally. The Panthers took their final lead at 26-25 following a pair of free throws by Andrea Villanueva with 5:46 to go in the period. But the Pirates closed the half on a 19-4 run to open the big halftime lead. Emily Guthrie drilled a pair of three-pointers to help spark the strong finish.
Whitworth took its largest lead of the game (69-46) with just under ten minutes to play on a layup by Kendra Knutsen. Chapman never got closer than within 15 points the rest of the way.
Five Pirates reached double figures in scoring, led by Lexi Belcher's 17 points. But no Whitworth player had a bigger impact on the game than Johnson. The sophomore from Colfax posted a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds to go along with five steals and three assists. She was named to the All-Tournament team, along with Guthrie who finished with 16 points on Sunday. Lauren Picha scored ten and Kendra Lahue scored ten points off of the bench.
Johnson's effort helped to Pirates dominate the rebounding 48-30, including a 26-13 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Kimi Takaoka led Chapman with 13 points.
Notes: Johnson's rebounding total is a career high, surpassing the 12 she had in her very first game as a Pirate on Nov. 19, 2010 against UC Santa Cruz. This was also the second double-double of her career. Her five steals was also a career-high, beating the previous high of four set last season. George Fox defeated host Cal Lutheran 63-51 in the Posada Royale championship game on Sunday.
Coming Up: Whitworth will open Northwest Conference play this coming week by hosting Lewis & Clark (Friday) and George Fox (Saturday) in the Whitworth Fieldhouse. Both games will tip off at 6:00 p.m.