SPOKANE, Wash. – Jenele Peterson scored 22 points to lead visiting Whitman to a 78-70 comeback win at Whitworth in a Northwest Conference women's basketball game on Tuesday night at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
Trailing 52-40 with 15 minutes left in the game, Whitman came all the way back to win, improving to 9-7 overall and 5-2 in the NWC. The Pirates dropped to 7-9, 3-4.
Whitworth led nearly the entire first half, jumping to a quick 11-4 lead following a three-pointer and driving layup by Emily Guthrie. Whitman came back to take a 16-15 lead on a three-point play by Sarah Anderegg. The Missionaries had their final lead of the half (21-19) following a jumper by Anna Forge. Taylor Taylor gave Whitworth a 26-23 lead when she converted a three-point play with 7:42 to go and Whitworth stretched the advantage to as many as nine points before taking a 41-33 lead into the locker rooms. Whitworth shot 55% (16-29) in the half, led by Lexi Belcher's 12 points. Peterson had 10 of her points in the first half for Whitman.
Kayla Johnson had five points early in the second half to spark Whitworth and the Pirates took their largest lead of the game (52-40) on a basket by Belcher with just over 15 minutes to play.
Whitman answered with an 18-4 run, going ahead 58-56 on back to back baskets by Anderegg. Belcher scored on the Pirates' next possession for the final tie score of the game. Whitworth was still within 66-65 with just over four minutes to play after a basket by Bethany Fleming. But the Missionaries took control by making 5-6 from the free throw line over the next two minutes and forcing Whitworth into three missed shots. After Whitworth got within 73-70 on Belcher's final basket with 1:26 to play, Whitman put the game away by again making 5-6 from the free throw line in the final minute of play.
Belcher scored a career-high 26 points for Whitworth, surpassing her previous high of 21 set earlier this season. She also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds. Johnson added 17 points and Guthrie scored nine.
It was Whitman's turn to break the 50% barrier in the second half as the Missionaries made 55% (12-22) from the field. Peterson made 10-12 from the free throw line to account for almost half of her 22 points. She also dished four assists. Kelly Peterson added 15 points and Forge scored 14 points and shared game-high honors with nine rebounds off of the bench.
Both teams will travel to Salem, Oregon to take on Willamette this weekend. Whitworth will play first on Friday night with the Missionaries following on Saturday.