Whitman Women Lose, Men Triumph in Conference Semi-Finals

Quin Nelson

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In a hard-fought NWC semi-final matchup, the Whitman women’s basketball team came up a few plays short of victory, falling to the Whitworth Pirates 55-54 Thursday evening at Ball Court.

The Missionaries put on quite the show in front of a passionate home crowd, but the Pirates matched their intensity throughout the game. Whitworth held a strong advantage from the three-point line, hitting five in the first half and going 11-26 for the game. While the Missionaries went 0-7 from deep, they battered the Pirates on the glass, led by junior forward Meghan White’s workmanlike 16 rebounds for the game. This contrast in style kept the game close, leading to a 24-24 tie at halftime.

The two teams remained close into the final minutes. With Whitman down 54-51 in the closing minute, the Missionaries played solid defense to force a shot clock violation, leading to a lay-up from junior forward Sarah Anderegg on the other end. After a free throw from Pirates guard Emily Travis, Missionaries sophomore point guard Heather Johns got fouled and made a free throw to draw the Missionaries within one, 55-54. In the waning seconds, Pirates guard Kayla Johnson missed a free throw, which was rebounded by the Missionaries, but Johns was unable to get off a potential game-winning shot.

Johns led the Missionaries with 20 points. The Whitworth Pirates will move on to the conference championship to play Lewis & Clark on Saturday at 7:00 PM at Lewis & Clark.

 

The Whitman men’s basketball team defeated the George Fox Bruins in the conference semi-finals, 90-78, at Ball Court Thursday night.

It was a troubling start for the Missionaries, as the Bruins broke the Missionaries full-court pressure with ease. The defense looked overextended with Bruins forwards Seth Brent and Sean Atkins cutting for uncontested lay-ups. With George Fox up 13-8 early, the Missionaries found their defensive rhythm, and more importantly, their three-point strokes. Led by sophomore Matt Mounier’s nine first half points, all on threes, the Missionaries went a scorching 8-14 from behind the line in the half. This was able to offset the Bruins offense, which shot 60 percent in the first half thanks to point guard Anthony Sanchez’ ability to handle Whitman’s pressure and facilitate. Whitman rode their three-point barrage to a 48-40 lead at halftime.

The beginning of the second half looked remarkably like that of the first half, with Whitworth cutting the lead to 49-48. However, Whitman’s tempo began to force turnovers, and the Bruins would end up with 24 for the game. The Bruins would be able to tie the game at 62-62, but Junior guard Josh Duckworth quickly seized the momentum back with a breakaway dunk. With relentless defensive intensity and key baskets from Duckworth down the stretch, the Missionaries were able to seal the victory 90-78.

The Whitman Missionaries will move on to play the Whitworth Pirates Saturday at 7:00 at Whitworth for the conference championship.

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