Whitworth Women Prepare for Midweek NWC Showdown

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

The Whitworth women's basketball team travels to Walla Walla for a midweek Northwest Conference showdown with Whitman College. The Pirates will face the Missionaries at 6:00 pm on Tuesday, February 5th in Sherman Athletic Center.

Live statistics and audio will be available for the game.

The Pirates: Whitworth travels to Walla Walla for a midweek showdown with Whitman College after defeating Lewis & Clark and Pacific (Ore.) over the weekend.

On Friday, Emily Travis split the defenders and made what turned out to be the winning basket with 1.8 seconds remaining to give Whitworth the 53-52 win over No. 6 Lewis & Clark. Travis led all scorers with 19 points, and KC McConnell grabbed a career-high 14 rebounds in the win. The Pirates handed the Pioneers their second loss of the season.

On Saturday Whitworth won an overtime thriller against Pacific (Ore.). It was only fitting to play extra time in a game that had 15 ties and 15 lead changes, but Whitworth was able to get the final push and scored seven unanswered points in the bonus period to remain unblemished at home this season. Four Pirates scored in double figures, led by Kayla Johnson's 18 points. Johnson had nine rebounds for the Bucs, while Emily Travis had six assists and Lauren Picha finished the night with four steals.

Pirate Leaders:  Whitworth is led by redshirt junior guard Emily Travis, who averages 10.0 points per game, and freshman guard KC McConnell, who pulls down 4.9 boards per contest. Junior Kayla Johnson is second on the team in scoring with 9.5 points per game, while junior forward Kendra Lahue is second in the team rebounding, averaging 4.6 rebounds per game.

Senior guard Lauren Picha leads the team with 2.7 assists per game, while Travis averages 2.6 assists per game. Guthrie leads the team with 1.5 steals per game, while Lyons is second with 1.3 steals per game. Guthrie and Johnson and Lahue each average 0.4 blocked shots per game.

NWC Standings: Buckle up for the final two and a half weeks of the Northwest Conference women's basketball schedule. With two teams sharing first and two teams sharing third, the last few weekends could be a wild ride.

Whitworth and Whitman share third place at 9-3. At 10-2, Lewis & Clark and George Fox share first place. Whitworth defeated Lewis & Clark over the weekend, but the Pios bounced back to hand Whitman a loss on Saturday. The Whits face off for the second time on Tuesday. George Fox visits Whitman Friday night and Whitworth on Saturday. Full NWC standings can be found here.

The Missionaries: Whitman holds a 16-4 record overall this season, 9-3 in the Northwest Conference.  Over the weekend, the Missionaries split a pair of games, defeating Pacific (Ore.), 61-31 on Friday and falling to Lewis & Clark, 61-52, on Saturday.

Sarah Anderegg leads the Missionaries with 13.6 points per game, while Meghan White pulls down 7.5 rebounds per game for Whitman. Heather Johns dishes out 3.5 assists per game, while Anderegg records 1.8 steals per contest. White also averages 1.2 blocks per game.

Whitman 67.8 points per game and has a rebounding margin of 11.4 this season. The Missionaries lead the conference in assists per game, averaging 14.8 assists per game, and are second in the league for rebounds per contest (43.7).

Whitworth has already faced Whitman in conference play this season, defeating the Missionaries 59-56 on January 8th in Spokane. Friday's game is the 65th meeting between the two teams, and Whitworth leads the all-time series 47-17.

NWC Leaders: Both 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 .500 three-point field goal percentage, while Lauren Picha (.382) also ranks in the top five. McConnell is second for her 2.1 assist to turnover ratio, while Picha comes in third with a ratio of 1.9.

Whitman's Sarah Anderegg leads the conference with her .547 field goal percentage, and ranks among the top five in the league for her 13.6 points per game. Heather Johns ranks in the top five in two categories, field goal percentage (.472) and assists per game (3.5), while Meghan White's 1.2 blocks per game rank her among the top five in the conference.

Whitman leads the conference in assists per game (14.8), while Whitworth is currently third in the conference with 14.2 assists per contest. The Pirates are currently second in the league in points per game (70.7) and three-point field goal percentage (.341).

Dishing It Out: Whitworth is third in the conference with its 14.2 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.

Protecting the Ball: In 21 games this season, the Pirates have only had more turnovers than their opponents seven times. The Bucs are tied for eighth among NCAA DIII teams with their 13.8 turnovers per game. Twice this season, Whitworth has had fewer than 10 turnovers in a game; their opponents have only had fewer than 10 turnovers in one game against the Pirates.

Whitworth for Three: In 21 games this season, the Pirates have made 166 three-point field goals, while their opponents have made 58. The Bucs average 7.9 three-pointers per game, while their opponents average 2.8. The Pirates have hit 10 or more threes in seven of their 19 games this season. Seven Pirates have made 10 or more threes this season.

Senior Emily Guthrie leads the team with 39 three-pointers. Senior Lauren Picha is second with 25 threes, and freshman KC McConnell is right behind her with 25.  Junior Kendra Lahue has 16 triples this season, while redshirt junior Emily Travis has made 15 threes. Junior Jamie Lyons and sophomore Katara Belton-Sharp have 14 and 10 threes, respectively, this 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.

Setting Records: In Whitworth's win over Caltech in November, the Pirates set three new school records.  In the 105-26 victory, the Bucs bettered the previous record for most points scored in a game (previously 101 vs. Caltech 2003-04) and the largest margin of victory, which was also set in the Caltech game from 2003-04. The Pirates also set a record for rebounds per game, as they pulled down 57 boards.

Redshirt junior Emily Travis tied a Whitworth women's basketball record in the 67-54 win at Pacific Lutheran by making 14 free throws in the game. She is now tied with Tiffany Speer, who set the record during the 2003-04 season by sinking 14 free throws against Linfield.

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.