Andrew Goodwin | Sports Editor
Whitworth women’s basketball dropped both of their matchups this weekend, losing to 24th-ranked George Fox 73-54 and Lewis and Clark 83-64.
Entering the weekend, the Bucs had a sliver of hope to make the Northwest Conference tournament, needing a pair of wins and a pair of Lewis and Clark losses.
In their Friday game against George Fox, Whitworth’s defense kept them in the game through most of the third quarter, but tired legs allowed the Bruins to pull away.
“We ran out of gas,” Madison Moffat, ‘19, said. “George Fox plays at a very fast tempo, and are deep enough to be able to sub people in and keep that pace up for the whole game.”
The Pirates forced 15 first half turnovers against the Bruins, who rank 33rd in the nation in turnover margin. Whitworth’s posts routinely lept into passing lanes to steal lobs intended for returning all-conference forward Kaitlin Jamieson. Chloe Quinnett, ‘18, led the effort with three steals and one block.
Whitworth’s offense wasn’t operating at their peak in the first half, but they still managed 33 points and entered halftime with a 33-30 lead despite 13 turnovers. The highlight of the Pirate half was a half-court heave from senior Jessica Thoens. Thoens drained the shot at the end of the first quarter, prompting an explosion from the Whitworth bench and crowd.
“[The shot] was one of the most amazing moments with my team,” Thoens said. “It’s going to be a story I tell for the rest of my life.”
In the second half, Whitworth looked like a totally different team as George Fox’s press wore down the Bucs. The Pirates shot 25 percent from the field, which is 14 percent lower than Whitworth’s season average of 39 percent. Combined with nine turnovers, the poor shooting percentage gave the Bruins a chance to pull away.
Junior Grace Douglas led the Bucs in scoring with 17 points and used active hands to pick up five steals. Quinnett stuffed the stat sheet, scoring five points with five rebounds, three assists and the aforementioned steals and block.
Saturday’s game against Lewis and Clark didn’t go the Bucs way either. Lewis and Clark made the first basket of the game and never looked back. Whitworth never led. The Pirates kept the game competitive through the middle of the third quarter before Lewis and Clark used an 18-5 run to pull away.
Sophomore guard Madison Moffat’s performance was the highlight of the game for the Pirates. Moffat led the Bucs in points, rebounds, and assists with 18, nine, and four respectively. Moffat also made 14 of 16 free throws.
Friday’s loss meant Saturday’s matchup against Lewis and Clark would be Whitworth’s last game of the season and the final game in the careers of seniors Jessica Thoens and McKenzie Harsin.
Thoens and Harsin combined to score 18 of Whitworth’s 64 points in the loss to the Pioneers. The pair totaled up 67 wins while at Whitworth.
“It’s been a weekend of thankfulness and gratefulness,” Thoens said. “It’s not all about wins and losses.”
Looking forward, Pirate fans have much to be excited about. The top three scorers, Douglas, Moffat and junior Callie Harwood are all returning. Additionally, Erika Kuehn, ‘18, gained valuable experience playing point guard when Thoens rested. Kuehn and a healthy Sydney Riggs, ‘19, should lessen the damage of losing Whitworth’s assist leader in Thoens going forward.
“I think the biggest role that the team will need to fill next year is a court leader,” Moffat said. “Jess really stepped into that leadership role this year and we will miss that for sure.”