Pirate Women Close Season Against 'Cats

Photo courtesy Kelly Bird, Linfield College
Photo courtesy Kelly Bird, Linfield College

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant

SPOKANE, Wash. – Whitworth women's basketball closes out its season this weekend with a pair of Northwest Conference matchups against Willamette and Linfield.

The Pirates take on the Wildcats on Friday, Feb. 16 at 6:00 p.m. and battle the Bearcats on Saturday, Feb. 17 at 4:00 p.m.

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

The Pirates: Whitworth (9-14, 4-10 NWC) dropped a pair of games last week against top-25 teams. Ninth-ranked Whitman defeated the Bucs 83-49 on Tuesday. Camy Aguinaldo scored 19 of Whitworth's 27 points in the first half, but the Blues held Aguinaldo in check in the second half and pulled away with a 32-14 third quarter to earn the win. Aguinaldo led Whitworth in scoring with 23 points and Annie Estes joined her in double figures with 10 points.

The Pirates fell 82-58 to 15th-ranked George Fox on Friday. Whitworth only trailed by eight at halftime, but the Bruins extended the lead to 22 with a 31-17 third quarter and coasted to the win. Aguinaldo was the Bucs' leading scorer with 13 points, Grace Douglas dropped in 11 of her own, and Madison Moffat narrowly missed a double-double with 8 points and 11 rebounds

The Opponents: Linfield (9-14, 5-9 NWC) enters the weekend coming off two losses to Puget Sound (65-61) and Lewis & Clark (75-67). The Wildcats are the second best team in the NWC at getting to the free-throw line and average 21.8 free throws per game. Linfield also has the third-best rebounding margin in the conference, pulling down 6.2 more rebounds than they allow. Kory Oleson leads the Wildcats in scoring with 13.9 points per game and the sophomore guard also grabs 5.2 rebounds per game. Molly Danielson contributes 11.2 points per game and a team-leading 6.2 rebounds per game. Last time the Pirates and Wildcats played, Whitworth blew out Linfield 78-63. Madison Moffat finished with a double double, pulling down 15 rebounds alongside 13 points. 

Willamette (14-9, 10-4 NWC) is currently in third place in the Northwest Conference and comes into the weekend after picking up a pair of wins over Pacific (Ore.) (80-65) and Pacific Lutheran (63-59). The Bearcats average the least fouls per game (15.5) and turnovers per game (14.0) in the Northwest Conference. Kylie Towry leads the conference in scoring with 17.1 points per game and Britanny Kochenderfer leads the team on the glass with 7 rebounds per game. Last time the Pirates and Bearcats squared off, Willamette defeated Whitworth 79-77. Five Pirates scored in double figures, led by Moffat and Camy Aguinaldo with 17 points each.   

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 seventh-best in the nation, draining 45.5% 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 35.1% of their shots behind the three-point line. Whitworth makes the 19th-most threes in the country, 7.9 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 5.3 assists per game are the most in the NWC and 20th-best in the nation. Aguinaldo also leads the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game, the 5th-best mark in the NWC. 

High Motor Madi: Madison Moffat is one of the best hustle players in the Northwest Conference, placing in the top-five of the NWC in rebounds, steals and minutes. The junior wing's 10.5 rebounds per game are second-best in the conference and her 2.4 steals per game are third-best. She leads the NWC in minutes per game with 34.45. 

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 on 45.9% shooting from the field.   

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. 

Superb Seniors: Grace Douglas, Erika Kuehn, and Chloe Quinnett will be honored before the Pirates play Willamette on Saturday.

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. 

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.