January 6, 2012

Whitworth Ends Long Losing Streak at PLU

PARKLAND, Wash. – Visiting Whitworth used an entire team effort to overcome the huge performance by Pacific Lutheran's Samantha Potter in an 80-67 Northwest Conference women's basketball victory on Friday night at Olson Auditorium.

Five Pirates reached double figures and Whitworth hit 12 three-pointers as a team to improve to 5-7 overall and 1-2 in the NWC.  The host Lutes fell to 4-8, 1-2 despite a school record-tying 36 points by Potter.

Emily Guthrie and Kayla Johnson each scored 19 points for the Pirates, who pulled away over the final ten minutes of the game to earn their first win at PLU since 1994.

The teams traded leads throughout a closely-played first half.  Whitworth took three three-point leads, including 25-22 on a free throw by Johnson with eight minutes left.  But the Lutes answered with a 7-0 run to open their largest lead of the half (29-25) on a lay up by Potter.  Potter scored her final basket of the half with :54 to play in the half lifting PLU to a 39-36 halftime lead.  Potter made all ten of her shots in the first period and had 20 of her points at halftime.

Lexi Belcher opened the second half with a three-pointer to pull the Pirates into a tie.  The Lutes took their final four-point lead minutes later after back to back baskets by Potter, who made her first 12 shots from the field.  A three-pointer by Lauren Picha tied the game at 45-45 with 16 minutes to play.

Whitworth and PLU traded leads six times over the next six minutes.  The Pirates took the lead for good with a quick 6-0 run that turned the Lutes' 54-53 advantage to a 59-54 Whitworth lead.  The Bucs grabbed a 68-60 lead with just over five minutes to play on a long three by Guthrie.  Potter answered with a basket for PLU but Belcher hit another three to give Whitworth a 71-62 lead with three and a half minutes to play.  The Pirates were not threatened the rest of the way.

Whitworth hit 41.5% (27-65) from the field, 46.2% (12-26) from three-point range.  The Bucs were 14-20 (70%) from the free throw line.

Guthrie hit five three-pointers to account for most of her 19 points and she led the Bucs with six assists.  Johnson was 5-9 from the field and 8-12 from the free throw line.  Belcher finished with 16 points.  Jamie Lyons had 10 points and a team-high eight rebounds, while Picha finished with ten points.

Potter made 17 of 21 shots from the field to finish with game-highs of 36 points and 11 rebounds.  Shelly Kilcup scored ten points as the only other Lute in double figures.  PLU hit 45.6% (26-57) of its shots.  The Lutes were 3-12 (25%) from three-point range.

Whitworth will try to make it a sweep on its Western Washington trip with a game at Puget Sound on Saturday at 4:00 p.m.

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