Pirates continue hot play in home sweep

Whitworth women break century mark for the second time in last four games against Colorado College

by Sena Hughes

The women’s basketball team racked up two more victories last weekend to advance their record to 6-1 (1-0 Northwest Conference). For the second time in a week, the Pirates dropped triple digits in a game, beating Colorado College 102-40 on Friday in their home opener. On Saturday, Whitworth opened their NWC play with a 72-53 win over Pacific Lutheran University.“It’s really been a team effort,” head coach Helen Higgs said. “That’s what’s setting us apart. Our bench, our starters, everyone is stepping up.”

The Tigers of Colorado College scored the first bucket in Friday’s game, but the Bucs relentlessly controlled the  rest of the game. Whitworth cashed in 21 Tiger turnovers for 25 points in the first half and went into the locker room at halftime with a commanding 56-16 lead.

“We shot the ball really well on [Friday] night, which I think helped us get our offense going, too,” Higgs said.

The Bucs continued to pull ahead in the second half and moved into triple digits with 1:25 remaining in the game. Whitworth dominated the boards, grabbing 14 offensive rebounds and earning 21 second-chance points.

Freshman guard KC McConnell and junior guard Kayla Johnson led the team with 16 points each. Johnson was quick to credit her team.

“As a team, everyone played really well,” Johnson said. “Nobody had a bad game; that’s what is important.”

Three other Pirates were in double digits and 15 players scored, showing the depth of the Whitworth bench.

“This year we have a deep bench,” senior guard Lauren Picha said. “No matter who goes in you never have to worry because everyone contributes.”

Senior guard Emily Guthrie contributed 13 points, four rebounds, and two assists for the Bucs.

Saturday was Whitworth’s first NWC competition of the season, with a victory over the Lutes of PLU. The Bucs got off to a slow start but quickly gained control. With the Pirates up by 13 at halftime, the Lutes made a run that cut the Pirate lead to two midway through the second half. Whitworth’s defense was critical in maintaining command of the scoreboard. PLU committed 22 turnovers in the game, on which the Pirates capitalized to seal the victory.

“Our main goal is take it one game at a time and get weekend sweeps where we win back-to-back games [like this weekend],” Johnson said. “Our league is all pretty even for the most part; anybody can beat any given team on any given day. We think we’re going to be pretty strong and be able to compete. We’re ready for it.”

Junior forward Jamie Lyons led the Bucs with 12 points. Guthrie had eight boards and eight points. Picha finished with eight points, six assists and four steals.

“Lauren Picha really stood out Saturday night,” Higgs said. “That’s just a great night for a point guard.”

Off to a strong start, the Pirates’ hopes are high for the rest of the season.

“It’s a new season and it’s a different feel this year and we’re all really excited about it,” Johnson said.

Whitworth looks to continue their winning streak next weekend against the Loggers of the University of Puget Sound next on Saturday night at the Fieldhouse at 7 p.m.

“This was our first home sweep of the season and that was a goal [we accomplished],” Picha said. “So we’re just looking to sweep each weekend and make it a successful season.”

Contact Sena Hughes at shughes15@my.whitworth.edu.

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