Pirate Women Set for NWC Weekend Showdown

Whitworth defense caused 22 Whitman turnovers.
Whitworth defense caused 22 Whitman turnovers.

The Whitworth women's basketball team hosts a pair of Northwest Conference foes this weekend, taking on Willamette and Linfield. The Pirates will take on Willamette at 6:00 pm on Friday in Whitworth Fieldhouse, in a game that will be televised live on SWX.  The Bucs will face Linfield at 4:00 pm on Saturday in the Fieldhouse.

Live statistics for both games can be found here.

Live video and radio will also be available.

The Pirates: Whitworth hosts Willamette and Linfield this weekend after splitting a pair of conference games last week.

On Tuesday, the Pirates handed No. 19 Whitman College its first conference loss of the season, defeating the Missionaries 59-56 in Whitworth Fieldhouse. Emily Travis came off the bench to score a season high 18 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead the Pirates. Whitworth forced 22 turnovers on the night and shot 75 percent (21-28) from the free throw line. Whitworth earned its first victory over a ranked opponent since defeating No. 24 Puget Sound in the Fieldhouse on January 8, 2011.

On Friday, the Pirates fell at No. 25 George Fox, 70-59. Senior Emily Guthrie hit four of eight from beyond the arc, including back-to-back threes that gave Whitworth a lead in the first half, but the Pirates were unable to get it going in the second half. George Fox scored 10 unanswered points to open the second half and pushed its lead to 14, which was too much for the Pirates to overcome.

Pirate Leaders:  Whitworth is led by redshirt junior guard Emily Travis, who is averaging 8.9 points per game for the Bucs, and senior guard Emily Guthrie, who averages 5.2 rebounds per game. Guthrie is second on the team in scoring with 8.8 points per game, while junior forward Kendra Lahue is second in the team rebounding, averaging 4.5 rebounds per game.

Senior guard Lauren Picha leads the team with 2.7 assists per game, while Travis averages 2.5 assists per game and Guthrie averages 2.2 assists per contest. Guthrie and freshman guard KC McConnell lead the team with 1.5 steals per game, while junior forward Jamie Lyons and Travis each average 1.3 steals per contest. Guthrie also averages 0.5 blocked shots per game. After tying her career high with two blocks at George Fox, junior guard Kayla Johnson is second on the team with 0.4 blocks per game.

The Bearcats: Willamette holds an 0-14 record overall this season, 0-5 in the Northwest Conference.  Over the weekend, the Bearcats fell to Lewis & Clark, 77-43, and Pacific Lutheran 54-50.

The Bearcats are led by Mackenzie Lamson, who averages 10.2 points per game and 4.7 rebounds per game. Katie Kalugin is second on the team in scoring, averaging 7.6points per game, while Julia Brand grabs 4.5 rebounds per game for Willamette. Jojo DeLong leads the team with 3.4 assists per game, while Lamson and Daena Mau average 1.0 steal per contest.

Willamette averages 57.1 points per game and has a rebounding margin of -8.6 this season.

The Pirates defeated the Bearcats twice last season, 88-46 in Salem, and 90-67 in Spokane. Friday's game is the 60th meeting between the two teams, and Whitworth leads the all-time series 43-16.

The Wildcats: Linfield enters this week with a record of 1-10 overall, 0-5 in the Northwest Conference. The Wildcats fell to Puget Sound, 71-58, and Pacific (Ore.), 57-41, over the weekend.

Katelyn Henson leads the Wildcats with 11.4 points per game and 9.3 rebounds per contest. Kaely Maltman is second on the team in scoring and rebounding, averaging 10.5 points per game and7.3 rebounds per game for Linfield. Maltman and Alex Christensen each average 2.6 assists per game for the Wildcats, while Henson averages 1.6 steals per contest.

The Wildcats average 47.5points per game and have a rebounding margin of -2.5 this season. Linfield is fifth in the conference with 2.5 blocks per game.

Last season, the Pirates defeated Linfield twice in conference play, 75-73 in Spokane, and 93-73 in McMinnville. Friday's game is the 55th meeting between the two programs. Whitworth leads the all-time series 47-7.

NWC Leaders: All three teams feature players that are among the top five in several statistical categories in the Northwest Conference.

Whitworth's KC McConnell leads the conference with her .553 three-point field goal percentage, while Lauren Picha (.451) comes in second. McConnell also ranks in the top five for her .511 field goal percentage. Lauren Picha (2.0) is second in the assist to turnover ratio category.

Willamette's Jojo DeLong averages 3.4 assists per game, which ranks among the top five in the league.  The Bearcats also have players that land just outside the top five. Mackenzie Lamson's 0.8 blocks per game are tied for sixth in the conference. DeLong's 30.4 minutes per contest rank her seventh among conference players.

Linfield's Katelyn Henson's 9.3 rebounds per game are third among conference players. Kaely Maltman leads the conference in minutes per game, averaging 34.6 minutes a contest.

Helping Hands: Whitworth leads the conference with its 14.9 assists per game average. In a four game stretch, the Pirates had 66 assists on 107 made baskets. Against Warner Pacific, the Bucs had 21 assists on 31 made field goals, and at Lewis-Clark State College, Whitworth had 21 assists on 26 made shots. At Pacific, Whitworth dished out 16 assists on 22 field goals. During that span, three players tied or set career-highs in assists. Junior Jamie Lyons' four assists at Pacific tied a career high, while senior Lauren Picha (8) and redshirt junior Emily Travis (10) set new career highs against Warner Pacific and Lewis-Clark State College, respectively.

Whitworth for Three: In fifteen games this season, the Pirates have made 135 three-point field goals, while their opponents have made 35. The Pirates are ranked sixth in Division III for their three-pointers per game and are tied for third for their three-point field goal defense. The Bucs average 9.0 three-pointers per game, while their opponents average 2.3. The Pirates have hit 10 or more threes in seven of their 15 games this season. Five Pirates have made 10 or more threes this season. Senior Emily Guthrie leads the team with 30 three-pointers, while senior Lauren Picha is second with 23 three-pointers apiece. Freshman KC McConnell is third on the team with 21 three-point baskets while redshirt junior Emily Travis has 13 treys this season. Junior Jamie Lyons has hit 10 threes on the season.

Receiving Votes: Whitworth received its first vote of the 2012-13 season in the Week 3 d3hoops.com Top 25 poll. Whitworth received votes again in the Week 5 d3hoops.com poll. In the Week 6 poll, three NWC teams were ranked, but after Whitworth's upset of then-No. 19 Whitman, the Missionaries dropped out of the Week 7 poll. Lewis & Clark was ranked ninth in the latest poll, while George Fox moved up a spot to 24th.

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 featured 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.