Pirates Close Out Regular Season At Linfield, Willamette

The Whitworth women's basketball team will close out the regular season with games in Oregon against Linfield and Willamette. The Pirates will face Linfield at 6:00 pm on Friday, February 15th and Willamette at 4:00 pm on Saturday, February 16th and will be the opening games of doubleheaders with the Whitworth men.

Live statistics, audio and video will be available on the women's basketball schedule.

The Pirates: Whitworth travels to Oregon to close out the regular season against Linfield and Willamette. Last week the Pirates lost 81-62 at Whitman but rebounded to knock off No. 18 George Fox, 66-59, on Senior Night in the Fieldhouse.

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.

On Saturday, Whitworth went on a 21-6 run over the final six minutes and 53 seconds of play to earn a 66-59 victory over George Fox. The Pirates were down by as many as 15 points in the first half, but went on a 15-0 run to go into halftime tied with the Bruins. George Fox built up another eight point lead, but the Bucs responded by hitting four three-pointers in a row and taking the lead. With the win, Whitworth sent seniors Emily Guthrie, Lauren Picha and Emily Travis out with an undefeated home record this season. Travis led the Pirates with 17 points, while Picha and Kayla Johnson each added 13 points for the Pirates. The Bucs shot 77.8 percent (7-9) from three-point land in the second half and shot 54.5 percent (12-22) for the game.

Pirate Leaders:  Whitworth is led by junior guard Kayla Johnson and redshirt junior Emily Travis, who each average 10.2 points per game, and freshman guard KC McConnell, who pulls down 4.7 boards per contest. McConnell is third on the team in scoring with 8.4 points per game, while junior forward Kendra Lahue is second in the team rebounding, averaging 4.3 rebounds per game.

Travis and senior guard Lauren Picha lead the team with 2.6 assists per game each. McConnell, Travis and junior forward Jamie Lyons lead the team with 1.3 steals per game, while Johnson and Lahue average 0.4 blocked shots per game.

Whitworth is currently second in the league in points per game (70.1) and three-point field goal percentage (.347). The Pirates are third in the conference in assists per game (13.9), steals per game (10.0) and field goal percentage (.391).

NWC Standings: The top four teams have slowly and steadily distanced themselves from the pack. The Pioneers, Missionaries, Bruins and Pirates all have double digit wins in the conference this season.

At 10-4, Whitworth is currently tied with George Fox for third place in the conference standings. Willamette sits in eighth place with a league record of 2-11, while Linfield is in ninth with a 1-12 NWC mark. Full NWC standings can be found here.

The Wildcats: Linfield holds a 2-17 record overall this season, 1-12 in the Northwest Conference.  Over the weekend, the Wildcats fell 48-46 at Pacific (Ore.) and 79-57 at Puget Sound.

Katelyn Henson leads the Wildcats with 12.5 points per game and 8.8 rebounds per contest. Kaely Maltman leads the team in assists per game (2.9 apg) and steals per game (1.6 spg) and is the second in team scoring (11.7 ppg) and rebounding (7.3 rpg). Henson leads the team with 0.8 blocks per game this season. Linfield averages 50.7 points per game and has a rebounding margin of -4.3 this season.

Whitworth has already faced Linfield in conference play this season, defeating the Wildcats, 69-64, on January 19th in Spokane. Friday's game is the 56th meeting between the two teams, and Whitworth leads the all-time series 48-7.

The Bearcats: Willamette holds a 2-20 record overall this season, 2-11 in the Northwest Conference.  Over the weekend, the Bearcats fell 59-54 against Pacific Lutheran and 78-47 at Lewis & Clark.

The Bearcats are led by Mackenzie Lamson, who averages 8.7 points per game, and Jo Johnston, who pulls down 5.0 rebounds per contest. Jojo DeLong leads the team with 3.2 assists per contest and 1.1 steals per game this season. Lamson averages 0.6 blocks per contest for Willamette. Willamette averages 51.0 points per game and has a rebounding margin of -8.1 this season.

Whitworth has already faced Willamette in conference play this season, defeating the Bearcats 69-50, on January 18th in Spokane. Friday's game is the 61st meeting between the two teams, and Whitworth leads the all-time series 44-16.

NWC Leaders: All three teams feature players that rank among the top five in the conference in several statistical categories.

Whitworth's KC McConnell leads the conference with her .519 three-point field goal percentage, while Lauren Picha (.382) also ranks in the top five. Picha and McConnell lead the league in assist-turnover, as each has a ratio of 1.9.

Linfield's Katelyn Henson is in the top five for her points per game (12.5) and rebounds per game (8.8), while Kaely Maltman is second in the league for her .506 field goal percentage.

Willamette's Jojo DeLong is third in the conference with 3.2 assists per game.

Home Cooking: With the 66-59 victory over George Fox on Saturday, the Whitworth Pirates closed out the home portion of the 2012-13 with an unblemished 10-0 record in Whitworth Fieldhouse. All six of the Bucs' losses this season have been true road games. Whitworth came close to an undefeated home record under head coach Helen Higgs during the 2004-2005 season, when the Pirates ended the season with a home record of 10-1.

Nothing But a Number: With the 66-59 defeat of then-No. 18 George Fox on Saturday, the Whitworth Pirates claimed their third victory over a ranked opponent this season. Earning its first win over a ranked opponent since January 2011, Whitworth knocked off then-No. 19 Whitman, 59-56, on January 8th in the Fieldhouse, but it wasn't enough for the Pirates. Since overcoming their first ranked foe, the Bucs have earned two more victories over a d3hoops.com Top 25 team this season. The Pirates defeated then-No. 7 Lewis & Clark, 53-52, on February 1st and, most recently, then-No. 18 George Fox on February 9th.

Dishing It Out: Whitworth is third in the conference with its 13.9 assists per game average. The Pirates rank 15th among NCAA DIII teams for their 1.03 assist to turnover ratio. 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 23 games this season, the Pirates have only had more turnovers than their opponents seven times. The Bucs are tied for sixth among NCAA DIII teams with their 13.4 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 23 games this season, the Pirates have made 182 three-point field goals, while their opponents have made 69. The Pirates are 11th in Division III for their three-pointers per game. The Bucs average 7.9 three-pointers per game, while their opponents average 3.0. The Pirates have hit 10 or more threes in eight of their 23 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 on the team with 29 threes, while freshman KC McConnell is third with 27 threes. Redshirt junior Emily Travis has made 19 threes and junior Kendra Lahue has 18 triples this season. 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.