Top-25 Matchups Ahead for Pirate Women

Top-25 Matchups Ahead for Pirate Women

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant

SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth women's basketball returns home this week for its third game in five days against Whitman before heading to George Fox for its final road game of the season.

The Pirates take on the fifth-ranked Blues at 6:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 6, and battle the 24th-ranked Bruins in Newberg, Ore. at the same time on Friday, Feb. 9. 

Tuesday's game will be televised locally on cable station SWX.  Sam Adams will call play-by-play while former Texas Longhorns' standout Nneka Enemkpali gives 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 112 in Spokane and Time Warner channel 306 in North Idaho. 

Fans can watch the games or follow live statistics feeds through links on the Whitworth women's basketball schedule. 

The Pirates: Whitworth (9-12, 4-8 NWC) comes in to the weekend off a split in Portland. The Pirates opened the road trip with an 86-66 blowout win over Pacific (Ore.) on Friday. Camy Aguinaldo scored a game-high 21 points and Madison Moffat secured her 11th double double of the season with 13 points and 10 rebounds. 

In the second game of the weekend, the Bucs fell 88-78 to Lewis & Clark in overtime. Whitworth trailed by seven points entering the fourth quarter and came back to force an extra period, but the Pios outscored the Pirates by ten in overtime to earn a win. Aguinaldo led all scorers with a career-high 35 points on 13-21 shooting. Erika Kuehn and Grace Douglas joined Aguinaldo in double figures with 15 and 11 points respectively.

The Opponents: Whitman (20-1, 12-0 NWC) was the fifth-ranked team in the nation entering this weekend's games. The Blues come in off a pair of blowout wins over Pacific (76-52) and Lewis & Clark (75-54). Both Makana Stone (57.9%) and Casey Poe (52.8%) hold top-5 marks in the NWC in field goal percentage, and the Blues lead the nation in the same category (48.9%). They also lead the NWC in assists per game with 19.4, the sixth-most in the country. Last time Whitman and Whitworth played, the Blues won 101-68. Erika Kuehn scored 18 points and Camy Aguinaldo added 13. 

George Fox (18-3, 11-1 NWC) entered the week ranked 24th in the country. The Bruins defeated Pacific Lutheran (85-65) and Puget Sound (81-71) last week to hold on to second place in the Northwest Conference. Emily Spencer leads the Northwest Conference with 2.7 steals per game, keying an opportunistic defense that averages 12.9 takeaways per contest. Kaitlin Jamieson is the conference's top shot-blocker, averaging 31 per game. She also is George Fox's top scorer with 11.9 points per game. When the Bucs and Bruins squared off earlier in the season, George Fox won 86-78. Grace Douglas led the Pirates with 19 points.

Green Light Grace: As far as Whitworth fans are concerned, Grace Douglas can fire away as much as she wants from behind the arc. Douglas is the best three-point shooter in the Northwest Conference and the fourth-best in the nation, draining 47% of her shots from downtown.  She is second on the team in scoring with 13.5 points per game. 

Bombs Away: Douglas isn't the only Pirate firing away from beyond the arc. The Bucs are the best three-point shooting team in the Northwest Conference and make 36.3% of their shots behind the three-point line. Whitworth makes the 12th-most threes in the country, 8.2 per game. 

Speed Kills: Freshman point guard Camy Aguinaldo is ready to establish herself as one of the best facilitators in the Northwest Conference. Her 5.9 assists per game are the most in the NWC and 12th-best in the nation. Aguinaldo  also leads the team in scoring with 15.3 points per game, the 5th-best mark in the NWC.

High Motor Madi: Madison Moffat established herself as one of the NWC's top rebounders last season when she averaged 7.7 per game. This season, she's been even better. Moffat is averaging 10.5 rebounds per game, which is most on the team and places her in second in the conference. Entering this weekend, Moffat has accumulated 11 double-doubles.

Stretch 5: The Pirates are among the many teams in college and professional basketball who are electing to spread the floor. They're able to do so thanks to the contributions of Alli Kieckbusch. Since the start of conference play, the 5-foot-7 forward has averaged 10.3 points per game.

Not in Her House: In her senior year, Chloe Quinnett looks like one of the best defensive posts in the Northwest Conference. Her 1.67 blocks per game are third-best in the NWC and her 7 rebounds per game are seventh-best. 

They're Free for a Reason: The Pirates have made opposing teams pay for sending them to the free-throw line this season. Whitworth makes a conference-leading 73.7% of its shots from the charity stripe.

On the Air Again: Whitworth's games are once again carried live this season on KSBN 1230am in Spokane.  The relationship between Pirate athletics and KSBN goes back to 1994, a span of 24 years.  Bud Nameck is in his second season as the voice of Whitworth basketball.  The co-host of 920 KXLY radio's Morning News, Nameck has more than 30 years of experience calling college basketball at Gonzaga University and Washington State. 

Looking Ahead: After taking on the Blues and Bruins, Whitworth returns home to finish its season against Linfield and Willamette.

The Coach: Heading into her 24th season at Whitworth University, Helen Higgs is the winningest and longest serving women's basketball coach in school history. She has a record of 351-238 heading into the 2017-18 season, the most wins in school history. Her winning percentage of .595 is also the best all-time among Pirate women's basketball coaches. Since becoming members of the NCAA in 1999, Higgs has put together the two best stretches of records in school history. Whitworth went 124-53 (.700) in the seven seasons from 1999-2005 and the Pirates were 78-31 (.715) over four years from 2013-2016.