Women's Basketball Heads To California

Women's Basketball Heads To California

The Whitworth women's basketball team remains on the road this weekend as the Pirates head to California for a trio of games.

First up, the Pirates will face Occidental in a game to be played at Caltech on Friday, November 23rd at 1:00 pm. On Saturday, November 24th, Whitworth will take on Caltech in a game to be played at Occidental at 1:00 pm. The Bucs will wrap up their California trip by facing Cal Lutheran on Monday, November 26th at 7:30 pm.

Last Time Out: Whitworth played a pair of games in Texas at the Southwestern Tip-Off Tournament last weekend. The Pirates opened the season with an 83-64 win over Texas Lutheran University on Friday afternoon. The Bucs faced Mary Hardin-Baylor on Saturday and cruised to an 84-53 win over the Crusaders.

In Friday's game, the Bucs committed just eight turnovers and held a 45-39 edge in rebounding. Senior Emily Guthrie scored all 15 of her points off of three-point baskets, just three shy of her career-high (8). Whitworth made 11 three-pointers in the game and shot 35.5 percent from behind the arc.

On Saturday, the Pirates came up with 21 steals and scored 29 points off of turnovers. Whitworth got a boost from its bench as junior Bethany Fleming scored a career-high 17 points to lead the Bucs, and freshman KC McConnell set her first career-high by scoring 16 points.

The Tigers:
Occidental enters Friday's game with a 1-0 record after defeating Linfield College, 52-46, on Saturday.

Elizabeth Messick recorded a double-double and was two blocks shy of a triple-double in the Tigers' win over Linfield. Messick scored 12 points, grabbed 18 rebounds and had eight blocks. She also had a team-high four steals. Mackenzie Brandon and Michelle Naito-Lo each had 10 points for Occidental.

The last-and only-time Whitworth faced Occidental was on November 17, 2001, when the Pirates defeated the Tigers 55-46 in Los Angeles.

The Beavers: Caltech will open its season at home against Linfield on Wednesday, November 21.  The Beavers will also host Oberlin on November 23rd before facing Whitworth on November 24th.

Despite having to replace Teri Juarez, who led Caltech in rebounding, assists and steals last season, the Beavers return 75 percent of their scoring from last year.  Rachel Hess averaged 10.9 points per game and 1.92 steals per game for the Beavers last year, while Sarah Wright averaged 4.3 rebounds per game and 1.5 assists per game. Marlyn Moore was second on the team in scoring with 9.0 points per game, and Bridget Conner's 4.7 rebounds per game were second last season. In addition to its experienced group of returners, Caltech adds seven first-year members to the team. 

The last time Whitworth faced Caltech was on November 28th, 2008, when the Pirates defeated the Beavers 76-46 at the Braun Center. The Bucs hold a 2-0 record when facing the Beavers in California.

The Regals: Cal Lutheran is 1-0 overall this season after winning its season opener against Bethesda Christian University 101-39. Before the Regals take on the Pirates on November 26th, they will face Carleton on November 23rd and George Fox on November 24th.

The Regals are led by Erica Whitely, who scored 23 points and had eight steals in the win over Bethesda Christian. Starla Wright had a double-double for Cal Lutheran, scoring 14 points and grabbing a game-high 16 rebounds, 11 of which came on the offensive end of the court. Natalie Stone had 11 boards, while Rachel Heagy and Alex Nelson chipped in 12 and 11 points, respectively. 

The last time Whitworth faced Cal Lutheran was on November 26, 2011 when the Pirates fell to the Regals 67-64 in Gilbert Arena. The Bucs have a 2-1 all-time record against Cal Lutheran, including a 2008 win in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

Setting High Standards: Whitworth enters the games this weekend with a 2-0 record after dominating at the Southwestern Tip-Off Tournament. The Pirates defeated Texas Lutheran University by 19 points on Friday night, only to turn around and beat Mary Hardin-Baylor by 31 points on Saturday.

Hitting the Bench: In the first two games, Whitworth's bench has outscored the opponent's bench by double figures.  In the Mary Hardin-Baylor game, Whitworth reserves outscored the Crusader starters by eight points.

Fleming Feeling It: Junior forward Bethany Fleming scored 10 points in the first game of the season, which was a new career-high. The Newberg, Ore. native also set a new career-high in field goals made (4) and tied her career-high for rebounds (5) and free throws made.

However, Fleming wasn't done just yet. In the second game of the season, Fleming came off the bench to beat her recent career-highs and set new career-highs in points (17), field goals made (7) and rebounds (9) against Mary Hardin-Baylor.

Fleming also set new career-highs for assists (3) and blocks (2) against Texas Lutheran and steals (2) against Mary Hardin-Baylor. Additionally, she tied her career-high in three-point field goals made against Mary Hardin-Baylor.

The Coach: Now in her 19th season at Whitworth University, Helen Higgs is the winningest and longest serving women's basketball coach in school history. Not only does she have a record of 263-192 heading into the 2012-13 season, the most wins in school history, her winning percentage of .578 is also the best all-time among Pirate women's basketball coaches. Since becoming members of the NCAA in 1999, Higgs put together the best stretch of records in school history. Whitworth went 124-53 (.700) in the seven seasons from 1999-2005.

Next Up:  Whitworth will return to the Whitworth Fieldhouse to host Colorado College on November 30th and Pacific Lutheran on December 1st.