Whitman seniors score 46, wallop Linfield

Bailey Arango

Photo Credit : Jacobson

The Whitman College women’s basketball team ended a season filled with adversity and close losses on a high note Friday, Feb. 19, traveling to McMinnville, Ore. and decimating the Linfield Wildcats, 81-52. Whitman’s victory capped off a season that saw the Missionaries go 12-13 overall with a 7-9 record in Northwest Conference play.

Playing away from home didn’t stop Whitman’s shooters from making Friday senior night. Whitman’s three seniors, playing in their final games as Missionaries, combined for 46 points: just short of the offensive-output of Linfield’s entire team.

Senior Hilary White, just one game removed from scoring 25 in her final home game, dropped 22 points and seven rebounds on the Wildcats, while fellow senior Dawna Mello put on a clinic on how to play point guard, padding her 11 points with a game-leading seven assists.

Four-year starter Michelle Krall put on perhaps the most versatile showing of the night, collecting 13 points, seven rebounds, six assists, a block and a steal. Whitman’s seniors ensured that a season defined by last-second finishes would end in blowout fashion. Even a second-half Wildcat charge only brought Linfield within 14 points of the lead, one which Whitman would bolster in part thanks to sinking 13 three-pointers, one shy of the Whitman single game record.

Head Coach Michelle Ferenz reflected upon the 2009-2010 campaign as a missed opportunity.

“This was a challenging season for us,” said Ferenz. “Injuries are disruptive to any team and we definitely had more than our fair share. It forced us to adjust our style of play and ask players to step up and assume different roles. Basically, we were always playing catch up in terms of making adjustments to fit our healthy personnel. If we had a few possessions go our way in the first round, we picked a couple more wins and we are in the playoffs this week.”

Although clearly disappointed with a losing season, Ferenz believes closing with a blowout victory may be emblematic of things to come, remarking on Whitman’s chances in 2010.

“We look forward to returning a strong core of players and getting [juniors] Anna [Forge] and Jenele [Peterson] back healthy and ready to go: we also need to add about six new faces to our team and we are off to a good start.”

First year Kelly Peterson, who scored 14 points against Linfield on Friday, shares Coach Ferenz’s optimism.

“I think we’re looking at a really good season,” Peterson said. “Losing so many players to injuries this year was hard, but it did let younger players who might not have gotten much playing time find their role on the team. Having this experience and getting Forge and Peterson back, I think we could really have a breakout year.”

In a season wrought with bad breaks and near misses, hope springs eternal for the women’s basketball team as they begin recruiting for next season.