PORTLAND, Ore. – Cold shooting in the first half troubled the Whitworth women's basketball team as the Pirates fell to Lewis & Clark College, 76-65, in the Pamplin Sports Center on Saturday afternoon. Whitworth falls to 9-4 on the season, 2-2 in Northwest Conference play, while Lewis & Clark improves to 12-1, 3-1 in the NWC.
"After a tough first half offensively we responded really well and came back against a very talented team in a very physical game," Whitworth head coach Helen Higgs said. "I thought we showed mental toughness after getting down double digits in the first half and didn't have a lot of things go our way."
The Pirates used baskets from redshirt junior Emily Travis and senior Emily Guthrie to jump out to an early 9-0 lead over fifth-ranked Lewis & Clark, but the Pioneers answered with a 12-0 run and took the lead at the 13:41 mark. Junior Bethany Fleming made a layup to put the Bucs back in the lead, but the Pioneers answered with a jumper from Kristina Williams. Lewis & Clark continued to push ahead, going up by as many as 17 in the first half, and Whitworth trailed Lewis & Clark 38-21 at halftime.
Lewis & Clark continued to build its lead out of the break, surging to a 19 point lead in the opening seconds of the second half, but the Pirates fought their way back. Sophomore Kendra Knutsen made a layup to get the Pirates within 10 points halfway through the second half and then Emily Guthrie cut the lead to single digits with a basket at the 8:03 mark. Freshman KC McConnell hit a three-pointer to get the Bucs within six with 42 seconds remaining, but the Pirates were unable to get any closer as Lewis & Clark scored five points in the closing seconds to get the win.
Whitworth made just eight shots in the first half, with half of those coming in the first three minutes of action. Both teams had trouble shooting beyond the arc. The Pirates finished the night 4-22 (18.2 percent) from three-point range, while the Pioneers failed to make a three-pointer in the game. The Pirates forced 16 Lewis & Clark turnovers, which they converted into 24 points, but the Pioneers outrebounded the Bucs 51-38.
"We need to regroup and be ready to take on Whitman on Tuesday," Higgs said.
Junior Kayla Johnson and Emily Guthrie led the Pirates with 13 points apiece. KC McConnell added nine for the Bucs, while Bethany Fleming chipped in eight. Junior Jamie Lyons led the Bucs in rebounding, pulling down seven boards. Guthrie and McConnell each had five rebounds for Whitworth. Kendra Knutsen had three assists and three steals for the Pirates.
Kristina Williams had a game-high 30 points and 13 rebounds to lead Lewis & Clark. Katie Anderson added 13 points for the Pioneers, while Tayler Wang added eight. Kathlene Howe pulled down nine rebounds, while Jessica Rodriguez grabbed six boards for the Pioneers. Anderson dished out a game-high six assists for Lewis & Clark.
Next up, Whitworth will host Whitman at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, January 8th in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.