Pirates Set To Host UPS, Travel To Eastern Oregon

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Whitworth women's basketball team hosts the University of Puget Sound in Northwest Conference action on Saturday before traveling to play Eastern Oregon University on Sunday.

The Pirates will take on UPS at 6:00 pm on Saturday in Whitworth Fieldhouse. Live stats and video will be available for the game.

The Bucs take on Eastern Oregon at 5:00 pm on Sunday in Le Grande, Ore. Live stats and video will be available for that game as well.

Canned Food Drive on Saturday: Whitworth's Club Life is holding a canned food drive during Saturday night's basketball doubleheader against Puget Sound. Fans who bring two cans of food will get free admission. Fans who bring canned food will also be entered into a raffle for prizes that will be awarded during the men's game.

The Pirates: Whitworth hosted its first home games of the 2012-13 season over the weekend and was able to add two more wins to the victory column.

On Friday, the Pirates defeated Colorado College 102-40. The Bucs scored 40 points off of 37 Colorado College turnovers and used 14 offensive rebounds to score 21 second chance points. The Pirates shot 54.4 percent from the field and hit 11 three-pointers on 39.3 percent shooting from behind the arc.

Defense was the key in Saturday's 72-53 victory over Pacific Lutheran. Whitworth led by 13 points at halftime, but the Lutes were able to cut the lead down to two with 11:42 remaining in the second half. The Pirates responded by holding PLU to just five points for the remaining 11 minutes while Whitworth went on to score 22 points. The Bucs forced 22 PLU turnovers on the night.

Pirate Leaders:  Whitworth is led by freshman guard KC McConnell, who is averaging 10.9 points per game for the Bucs, and senior guard Emily Guthrie, who averages 5.6 rebounds per game. Junior forward Kendra Lahue is second in the team in scoring, averaging 10.3 points per contest, while McConnell and Lahue are second in rebounding, with a 4.7 boards per game average.

Senior guard Lauren Picha leads the team with 2.9 assists per game. Guthrie and McConnell average 1.6 steals per game, and Guthrie also averages 0.6 blocked shots per game.

The Loggers: Puget Sound enters Saturday's game with a 6-1 record and ride a six game winning-streak into the games this weekend. The Loggers will play at Whitman on Friday in their first NWC game before facing Whitworth on Saturday.

Puget Sound is led by Kelsey McKinnis, who averages 21.0 points per game. Sarah Steward is second in scoring, averaging 10.3 points per game. Stewart's 7.3 rebounds per game lead the Loggers, while Emily Sheldon pulls down 6.1 rebounds and dishes 2.6 assists per game for UPS.

Last season, the Pirates split the pair of conference games with the Loggers, with each team winning at home.  Saturday marks the 50th series meeting between the two teams and UPS holds a 31-18 edge over the Bucs.

The Mountaineers: Eastern Oregon enters this weekend with a 9-2 record overall and 2-0 record in Cascade Collegiate Conference play after defeating Concordia University and Warner Pacific College over the weekend. Before hosting the Pirates, the Mountaineers will play Lewis-Clark State College in Walla Walla on Saturday.

Eastern Oregon is led by Brooke Randall, who averages 13.1 points per game, and Korrie Bourn, who averages 6.8 rebounds per contest. Randall and Nicole Redd average 3.3 assists per game, and Redd also averages 2.1 steals per game. The Mountaineers are shooting almost 46 percent from the three-point line, and Kelsea Hurliman has made 21 three-pointers this season, which ranks second among the active Cascade Collegiate Conference players.

The last time Whitworth played the Mountaineers was on November 15, 2011, when the Pirates fell 67-63 in Whitworth Fieldhouse. This weekend's contest is the 30th series meeting and Whitworth holds a 19-10 all-time record against Eastern Oregon.

NWC Leaders: Both Whitworth and Puget Sound have multiple players that are among the top five in the Northwest Conference in various categories.

KC McConnell's 64.4 field goal percentage is the best in the NWC, while Kayla Johnson's 58.5 field goal percentage also ranks her in the top five. McConnell (45.5) and Lauren Picha (47.1) are among the top five for their three-point field goal percentage.  Picha (2.9) and Emily Travis (2.3) lead the NWC in the assist-to-turnover ratio, while Emily Guthrie (1.6) ranks fifth.

Kelsey McKinnis leads the NWC with her 54.5 three-point field goal percentage and her 21.0 points per game are second in the conference. Sarah Stewart's 7.3 rebounds and 0.9 blocks per game rank her among the top five in both categories. Olivia Roberts is shooting 52.2 percent from beyond the three-point line for the second best three-point field goal percentage in the NWC.

Whitworth For Three: In seven games this season, the Pirates have made 62 three-point field goals, while their opponents have made 14. The Bucs average 8.9 three-pointers per game, while their opponents average two. Emily Guthrie leads the team with 12 made three-pointers, while KC McConnell comes in just behind her with 10 on the season.

Triple Digits: In the win over Colorado College on November 30, Whitworth broke into triple digits for the second time this season and the third time in its history. In the 102-40 win, freshman Faith Emerson sank a pair of free throws with 1:25 remaining in the game to get the Bucs past the 100-point barrier. In the November 24th win over Caltech, the Pirates scored 105 points, which set a new record for most points scored in a game. This season is the first time that Whitworth has scored over 100 points in multiple games.

Three SWX Broadcasts: Local cable station SWX will carry three Whitworth women's games live this season. The Dec. 8 contest against Puget Sound will feature play-by-play from Sam Adams and color commentary from Greg Hannan. In the other two broadcasts (Jan. 18 vs. Willamette and Feb. 1 vs. Lewis & Clark), John Fritz will provide play by play, while former Gonzaga star and NBA player Dan Dickau provides color commentary. SWX stands for Sports & Weather Right Now and is owned by local NBC affiliate KHQ channel 6. SWX can be seen both over-the-air and through some cable services in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene, Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, and Yakima viewership areas. In the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area, SWX is found on digital channel 6.2, on Comcast channel 115 in Spokane and Time Warner channel 306 in North Idaho.

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.

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