By Mariia Yazepova | Staff Writer
After coming off two straight losses, the Whitworth women’s basketball team traveled to Tacoma to play Puget Sound and Pacific Lutheran. The Pirates lost to the Loggers 77-89, but they managed to beat the Lutes 84-76.
The Pirates handled the Puget Sound press well at the beginning of the first quarter with points in the paint from Devyn Cope. UPS’ Kennedy Brown responded with three made field goals. The Pirates were able to string consecutive threes to take a 21-19 lead heading into the second quarter.
Whitworth had a harder time dealing with the press in the second quarter. After the score was tied for much of the quarter, the Loggers went on a late run to grab a 37-33 lead heading into the second half.
The Loggers slowly started chipping away in the third quarter. With the combination of threes and turnovers, Puget Sound built up a lead that they did not drop for the rest of the game. Whitworth made five field goals while the Loggers converted nine.
The Pirates tried to cut the large deficit on several occasions in the fourth quarter, but Puget Sound answered every time and that helped them seal the game.
Olivia Mayer and Quincy McDeid scored 17 points each. Madison Hagen added 14 with 3 three-pointers.
Kennedy Brown had a dominant performance with 32 points. Jordyn Reverman added 16 points off the bench.
“I think that we haven’t really faced a team that presses like they do so far this season,” head coach Kenny Love said. “Two or three minutes right at the start of the third quarter right after the half was the biggest turning point of the game – we need to work on offense and be able to take care of the ball.”
Whitworth was more successful in the second game against PLU.
The Pirates started off slow offensively only making three field goals in the first quarter. PLU used that to build an 8-point lead going into the second quarter.
The Bucs took their first lead of the game in the second quarter. The score was even throughout the second period until the late free throws gave the Pirates a 33-32 lead heading into the second half.
The third quarter turned into an Olivia Mayer show. The Washington State transfer scored the first 12 points of the quarter. Whitworth scored 32 as a team which gave them a 65-53 advantage going into the fourth quarter.
Early in the fourth quarter, Whitworth extended their lead to 16, but the Lutes answered with a 10-0 run to cut the lead to six. Whitworth was ready for the comeback attempts and their composure from the free-throw line helped them close out the game.
Olivia Mayer scored a career-high 29 points and grabbed 10 rebounds. Sydney McLean scored 14 off the bench.
Ashley Akamine and Ava Edmonds had 18 points each for PLU.
“When we get our shots up to the hoop, we’re able to rebound when we do miss and get to the foul line,” Love said. “And we’re a good offensive rebounding team, and we’re good free throw shooting team. So just giving us a chance to get shots up and not turn the ball over will be something we will work on because when we turn it over, the other team is getting easy baskets. Getting rid of those things is probably going to be something that’s going to make a drastic impact in a positive way for us.”