Whitworth Hits 21 of 28 Free Throws, Defeats Bearcats, 68-62

Sarah Heinly (Fr., G, Bend, OR/Summit HS)
Sarah Heinly (Fr., G, Bend, OR/Summit HS)

By Robert McKinney, Assistant Athletics Director, Communications

SPOKANE, Wash. -- Whitworth University outscored Willamette University 18-2 in the third quarter to rally from an eight-point halftime deficit, and the Pirates held on to defeat the Bearcats, 68-62, in a Northwest Conference game at the Whitworth Fieldhouse on Friday, Jan. 27. The Pirates hit 21 of 28 free throws during the game, while the Bearcats were 7 of 15 at the line.

Willamette outscored Whitworth by a combined 10 points in first, second and fourth quarters, but couldn't overcome the Pirates' big advantage in the third period. Whitworth moved its record to 8-11 on the season, 4-6 in the NWC. Willamette fell to 10-8 overall, 3-6 in the NWC.

The Bearcats played without starting guards Ashley Evans (Jr., PG, Canby, OR/Canby HS) and Mary Eckenrode (Jr., G, Higley, AZ/Highland HS). Both missed the game due to injury.

Jessica Thoens scored 17 points for Whitworth on 5 of 10 field goals and 6 of 8 free throws. Erika Kuehn, Grace Douglas and Callie Harwood each tacked on nine points for the Pirates. Madison Moffat added seven points, three steals and a game-high 12 rebounds.

Sarah Heinly (Fr., G, Bend, OR/Summit HS) led the Bearcats with 14 points, including three 3-pointers. Kylie Towry (Sr./Jr., G, Medford, OR/South Medford HS) provided 11 points, but was limited to one 3-pointer by the Whitworth defense.

Drew Farmer (Fr., PG, Brookings, OR/Brookings-Harbor HS) and Marisa Hamilton (Sr./Jr., F, Beaverton, OR/Southridge HS) put in nine points apiece. Farmer also grabbed five rebounds. Alex Wert led the Bearcats with nine rebounds, but battled foul trouble and finished with six points. She fouled out with 3:49 left in the third quarter.

Whitworth took a 6-2 lead in the first two minutes of the game. Willamette countered with a 7-2 run to take a 9-8 lead on a layup by Towry with 5:16 left in the opening quarter.

A basket by Courtney Grace 20 seconds later regained the lead for the Pirates, but Hamilton scored the next five points on a layup and a 3-pointer to give the Bearcats a 14-10 advantage. The Bearcats owned a 16-14 lead after 10 minutes.

Hamilton, who scored Willamettes' final seven points in the first quarter, added the game's first basket in the second quarter. The jumper by Hamilton started a 9-1 run. After Heinly scored on a layup at the 5:49 mark, the Bearcats owned a 25-15 margin.

The Pirates responded with a 9-3 run to reduce the lead to 28-24 following a pair of free throws by Douglas with 3:37 left in the half. Eight of the next 10 points went to the Bearcats on a 3-pointer by Heinly, a layup by Heinly, and a 3-pointer from Towry. With 1:03 on the clock, Willamette was in front, 36-26.

At halftime, the Bearcats held a 38-30 edge. Whitworth surged into a 41-38 lead by scoring the first 11 points of the second half. A fast-break basket by Chloe Quinnett opened the run before Douglas added a 3-point shot.

The Pirates earned six more points before Whitney Anderson (Jr., G, Willamina, OR/Willamina HS) scored Willamette's first basket of the second half on a layup with 2:05 left in the quarter. Whitworth tallied the next seven points to take a 48-40 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Pirates increased the margin to 56-40 with eight more points. Towry stopped the run by puttting through a layup with 7:33 remaining.

Whitworth held a 60-44 advantage following a jumper by Thoens with 5:49 left, but Willamette rallied to get within six points with 1:20 remaining.

The Bearcats pulled within 62-52 when Elizabeth Logsdon (Fr., F, McMinnville, OR/McMinnville HS) hit 1 of 2 free throws with 2:34 left. A bit later the deficit fell to eight points, 62-44, as Heinly sank 1 of 2 free throws at the 1:33 mark.

Logsdon scored on a jumper with 1:20 on the clock to cut the lead to 62-56. Gray missed two free throws for the Pirates with 54 seconds left, but Farmer missed a shot for Willamette with 42 seconds to go. Whitworth secured the victory by converting 6 of 8 free throws the rest of the way.

Willamette shot 45.5% for the game (25 of 55) and made 5 of 19 three-pointers (26.3%). The Bearcats finished with three more field goals, inlcuding two more 3-pointers, than the Pirates. Whitworth was 22 of 53 (41.5%) from the field and hit 3 of 17 long-range shots.

Whitworth earned a 41-29 rebounding margin, including 15 offensive boards. Even so, Willamette held a 15-12 lead in second chance points. Willamette committed 16 turnovers, while the Pirates lost the ball 19 times.

The Bearcats will take on nationally-ranked Whitman College on Saturday, Jan. 28 in Walla Walla, Wash. The Blues are ranked #20in the D3hoops.com Top 25. Game time is scheduled for 4 p.m. (PST).