Guthrie's Free Throws Give Whitworth a Win

SPOKANE, Wash. – Emily Guthrie made a pair of free throws with 10 seconds left to give Whitworth University the breathing room it needed to hold off visiting Linfield College 75-73 in a Northwest Conference women's game on Saturday night at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

The Pirates, winners of three of their last four games, improved to 7-8 overall and evened their conference mark at 3-3.  The Wildcats fell to 8-7, 3-3 despite 35 points from Gretchen Owens.

Back to back three-pointers by Lexi Belcher and Jamie Lyons gave Whitworth an early 14-8 lead, the Pirates' largest of the game.  Linfield came back to take a 19-18 lead on a pull-up three by Owens.  The teams traded leads twice before Alex Christensen scored inside for a 30-29 Wildcat lead.  Linfield would eventually stretch the advantage to 39-34 at halftime after a jumper by Owens.  Owens scored 22 of her points in the first half, making 9 of 16 shots from the field (2-3 from three) and two free throws.

Whitworth charged out of halftime with an 8-0 run, including back to back three-pointers by Belcher and Lauren Picha.  From that point there would be six ties and ten lead changes the rest of the way.  Kendra Lahue scored inside to give the Pirates their largest lead of the second half (55-51) with 11:44 left.  But Whitworth would be stuck on 55 points for the next four minutes.  Meanwhile Linfield had taken a 57-55 lead on a three by Christensen.  Katara Belton-Sharp broke the Pirates' drought with her own three. 

An Owens jumper gave the Wildcats a 70-69 lead with 2:20 left.  It would be Linfield's last lead in the game.  Whitworth scored its final six points of the contest from the free throw line, going 6-8 over the final 2:04.  Belcher hit two to give the Bucs the lead back, and Kendra Knutsen made one of two for a 72-70 Whitworth lead with 21 seconds left. 

After Chelsea McConville missed two free throws for Linfield with 11 seconds left, Guthrie came down with a tough rebound and calmly sank both free throws with what turned out to be a crucial four-point Pirate lead.  Owens took a pass and drained her fourth three-pointer of the game with four seconds left to get Linfield within one. Whitworth inbounded cleanly to Knutsen who was fouled and made one of two with two seconds left for the final margin.

Owens' total of 35 points ties her career high and is the fourth-highest single-game total in Linfield history.  She also grabbed a team-high nine rebounds and led the 'Cats with four assists.  Kaely Maltman added 13 points and Brynna Fuller scored 12.

Belcher finished with 18 points to lead Whitworth and Guthrie finished with 10 points and four assists.  Kayla Johnson scored eight points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.  Whitworth outrebounded Linfield 43-36, including a 13-6 edge in offensive rebounds.

Whitworth will host Whitman on Tuesday night looking for its third straight conference win.