McMinnville, Ore. – Senior Emily Travis scored 14 of her career-high 21 points in the second half to lead the Whitworth women's basketball team to a 69-53 victory over Linfield College on Friday evening in Ted Wilson Gymnasium. Whitworth improves to 18-6 on the season, and 11-4 in Northwest Conference play, while Linfield falls to 2-18 overall, 1-13 in the NWC.
"At this point in the season we are always happy with a win, even if it wasn't pretty," Whitworth head coach Helen Higgs said.
Junior Kendra Lahue hit back-to-back threes and a pair of free throws to give Whitworth an early 8-3 lead. The Wildcats tied the game up at 8-8, but the Bucs responded with a 12-0 run to push out to a 20-8 lead at the 10:14 mark in the first half. Whitworth led by as many as 18 points in the first half after Lahue sank a pair of free throws with 4:22 remaining. Travis sank a jumper from the paint just seconds before the buzzer to give Whitworth a 33-22 lead heading into halftime.
Junior Jamie Lyons' two free throws in the opening minute of the second half surged Whitworth's lead to 13 points, but the Wildcats came out of the locker room looking to make up some ground, going on a 14-2 run to cut the Bucs' lead to one with 14:41 remaining in the game. Freshman KC McConnell and junior Bethany Fleming put together a 9-0 run for the Pirates to give Whitworth another double digit lead at 10 points, but Linfield again came firing back. The Wildcats kept Whitworth within two to four points for two and a half minutes before Travis sparked an 11-2 run that put the Pirates just out of Linfield's reach.
"It was a game of spurts and we made the last big push the last five minutes. It was great to have balanced scoring once again and we did a nice job at rebounding and making free throws down the stretch," said Higgs.
Whitworth went 6-for-8 (75 percent) on three-pointers in the first half, and finished the game shooting 53.3 percent (8-15) from beyond the arc. The Pirates held the rebounding edge, grabbing 43 rebounds against Linfield's 38 rebounds. The Pirates also had 15 offensive boards that they turned into 14 second-chance points and scored 13 points off of 18 Linfield turnovers.
In addition to Travis' 21 points, three other Pirates scored in double figures. Lahue finished the night with 12 points, while McConnell chipped in 11 points for the Bucs. Junior Kayla Johnson earned her first double-double of the season, with a game-high 10 rebounds to go with her 11 points. Travis also had three steals and three assists for Whitworth.
Tyra Barawis came off the bench to lead Linfield with 11 points and eight rebounds. Katelyn Henson and Kaely Maltman, who both average double figures for the Wildcats, finished the night with five and eight points, respectively, after both fouled out with 10 minutes to play in the game. Nicole Barton and Taylor Solomon each had three assists for Linfield, and Alex Christensen had two steals for the Wildcats.
Next up, Whitworth will close the 2012-13 regular season at Willamette at 4:00 pm on Saturday, February 16th.