The Whitworth women's basketball team will play its last home game of the regular season against George Fox University on Saturday, February 9th at 6:00 pm in Whitworth Fieldhouse. The Whitworth seniors will be honored before the game.
On Tuesday, the Bucs committed just eight turnovers—the third time this season that Whitworth has had less than 10 turnovers in a game, but it was not enough as the Pirates fell 81-62 at Whitman. Kayla Johnson scored a season-high 22 points on a career-high nine field goals, and Katara Belton-Sharp added a career-high 13 points. Whitworth forced 15 Whitman turnovers, but could only convert them into nine points. Whitman controlled the boards as the Missionaries pulled down 55 rebounds, including 22 offensive rebounds that led to as many second chance points.
Celebrating the Seniors: Three Pirates will be honored before the George Fox game in Whitworth Fieldhouse on Saturday. Emily Guthrie, Lauren Picha and Emily Travis will be playing in their final regular season home game. A ceremony will take place prior to the 6:00 pm tipoff in the Fieldhouse. Combined, the trio has played in 256 games and has a record of 52-46. Both Travis and Guthrie have tied Whitworth women's basketball records during their tenures, and Picha leads the three with 72 (and counting) career starts.
Pirate Leaders: Whitworth is led by junior guard Kayla Johnson, who averages 10.1 points per game, and freshman guard KC McConnell, who pulls down 4.8 boards per contest. Redshirt junior Emily Travis is second on the team in scoring with 9.9 points per game, while junior forward Kendra Lahue is second in the team rebounding, averaging 4.4 rebounds per game.
Senior guard Lauren Picha leads the team with 2.6 assists per game, while Travis averages 2.5 assists per game. McConnell and junior forward Jamie Lyons lead the team with 1.3 steals per game, while Johnson averages 0.5 blocked shots per game.
Whitworth is currently third in the conference with 13.8 assists per contest. The Pirates are currently second in the league in points per game (70.3) and three-point field goal percentage (.338).
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.
After falling to Whitman on Tuesday, the Pirates now sit in fourth place in the NWC with a conference record of 9-4. 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. George Fox visits Whitman Friday night and Whitworth on Saturday. Full NWC standings can be found here.
The Bruins: George Fox holds a 17-4 record overall this season, 10-2 in the Northwest Conference. Over the weekend, the Bruins defeated Willamette, 73-28, and Linfield, 64-51.
Hannah Munger leads the Bruins with 11.9 points per game while Megan Arnoldy pulls down 7.3 rebounds per contest. Jamie Roos is second on the team in scoring, averaging 10.6 points per game, while Munger is second in rebounding, pulling down six boards per contest. Hayley Cusick leads the team with 3.9 assists per game and 2.8 steals per contest. Munger also leads the team with 2.5 blocks per contest.
George Fox averages 63.2 points per game and has a rebounding margin of 7.1 this season. George Fox leads the conference in blocks per game, averaging 4.0 per contest. George Fox is second among Northwest Conference teams with 14.4 assists per game.
Whitworth has already faced George Fox in conference play this season, falling to the Bruins, 70-59, on January 11th in Newberg. Friday's game is the 37th meeting between the two teams, and George Fox leads the all-time series 23-13.
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 .510 three-point field goal percentage, while Lauren Picha (.366) also ranks in the top five. Picha is second for her 2.0 assist to turnover ratio, while McConnell comes in third with a ratio of 1.9.
George Fox's Hannah Munger is among the top five in the league with her .479 field goal percentage. Hayley Cusick leads the conference with 3.9 assists per contest and is second in the NWC with 2.8 steals per game.
Home Cooking: The Whitworth Pirates are 9-0 at home this season, and have a chance to remain undefeated in the Fieldhouse with a win over George Fox on Saturday. All six of the Bucs' losses this season have been true road games. During the 2004-2005 season, Whitworth almost went undefeated at home, but lost to Pacific Lutheran and ended the season with a home record of 10-1.
Dishing It Out: Whitworth is third in the conference with its 13.8 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 22 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. Three times 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 22 games this season, the Pirates have made 170 three-point field goals, while their opponents have made 67. The Pirates are 12th in Division III for their three-pointers per game. The Bucs average 7.7 three-pointers per game, while their opponents average 3.0. The Pirates have hit 10 or more threes in seven of their 22 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 and freshman KC McConnell are in second with 26 threes each, and junior Kendra Lahue has 16 triples this season. Redshirt junior Emily Travis has made 15 threes. Junior Jamie Lyons and sophomore Katara Belton-Sharp have 14 and 12 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.
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.