PORTLAND, Ore. – The Whitworth University women's basketball team came up just short at Lewis & Clark on Friday evening, falling 82-78 to the Pioneers in Northwest Conference action at Pamplin Sports Center.
Whitworth falls to 18-7 on the season, with a 12-4 mark in the NWC. Lewis & Clark improves to 13-11 overall, with an 8-7 NWC record.
Senior Jamie Lyons pulled the Pirates even every time Lewis & Clark took a lead in the early going. Senior Kendra Lahue gave Whitworth its first lead with a three-pointer at the 16:48 mark. Junior Jessica Kramer put the Pirates up four, 14-10, at the 13:57 mark, but the Pioneers bounced back to take a 15-14 lead with 11:30 left in the half. The Pirates kept it a one possession game but the Pioneers used a 14-4 run to take a double digit lead, 35-25 with 4:59 left to play. Sophomore KC McConnell cut the Lewis & Clark lead to single digits just before the halftime buzzer, but the Pioneers led 43-34 going into the break.
Six quick points between sophomore Lexie Zappone and senior Kayla Johnson pulled Whitworth within three points, 43-40, just three minutes into the second half. McConnell gave the Pirates their first lead in the second half, 48-47, with a jumper at the 14:49 mark. Johnson and junior Katara Belton-Sharp tied the game over the next possessions, but the Pioneers hit timely three-pointers to neutralize each Whitworth run. After trailing by 10 points, 73-63, with 3:01 left, the Pirates went on an 11-3 run to pull within two points, 76-74, with less than a minute left on the clock. Lewis & Clark sank six of their eight free throws down the stretch to hold off the late Whitworth rally and claim the 82-78 win.
Lewis & Clark held a 35-33 rebounding advantage, though Whitworth used 13 offensive rebounds to score 12 second chance points. The Pirates converted 18 Pioneer turnovers into 18 points and shot 87.5 percent (21-24) from the free throw line. Lewis & Clark shot 50 percent (26-52) from the field.
Kendra Lahue scored 15 of her 19 points in the first half for Whitworth on 4-8 three-point shooting and led the Pirates with five rebounds. KC McConnell also scored 19 points for the Pirates on a career-best 10-10 from the free throw line. Kayla Johnson's 17 points brought her career total to 1,220 which ties her for sixth on the all-time Whitworth women's basketball scoring list. Lexie Zappone dished out five assists and had three steals for game-highs in both categories.
Katie Anderson led the Pioneers with a game-high 31 points and two blocks. Ayisat Afolabi added 18 points for Lewis & Clark, while Casey Zinn recorded a double-double with 11 points and 11 rebounds. Afolabi and Sarah Anderson each dished out three assists for the Pioneers.
Whitworth will be the third seed in the Northwest Conference tournament and will play second-seeded George Fox on Thursday, February 27th.