Missionaries come up just short in NWC semifinal

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WALLA WALLA — Thursday’s Northwest Conference women’s basketball playoff game between Whitman and visiting Whitworth came down to the final possession.

The Pirates’ Kayla Johnson missed the front end of a 1-and-1 chance with 11.1 seconds left to give the Missionaries a final chance at victory.

Whitman guard Heather Johns, who scored a game-high 20 points, drove into the front court, but was unable to get herself free for a game-winning shot attempt.

Johns then lost possession of the ball, time expired, and Whitworth escaped George Ball Court at Sherwood Center with a 55-54 victory.

“We understood Johns had been creating a lot for them,” Whitworth coach Helen Higgs said. “We needed to make rotations. We talk about and focus on stops.”

“I thought she got fouled on the last play,” Whitman coach Michelle Ferenz said. “But that’s neither here nor there.”

The Pirates will play Lewis & Clark, a 75-59 winner over George Fox on Thursday, for the Northwest Conference’s postseason championship at 7 p.m. on Saturday in Portland.

Whitman’s season ended with a record of 20-5.

The opening half of Thursday’s game had five ties and four lead changes. Neither team led by more than four points. Whitworth led 6-2 at the 16:39 mark.

The Missionaries enjoyed their biggest margin of the half — three points — with 13:47 on the clock. A Sarah Anderegg basket gave Whitman a 12-9 edge.

First-half ties occurred at 12, 14, 20, 22, and 24.

The period ended in a 24-24 stalemate after a baseline jumper by Whitman’s Meghan White with two seconds on the clock.

Whitworth kept itself in contention with five 3-pointers on 13 tries. It made 11-of-26 for the game.

The Missionaries opened up a five-point lead, 36-31, on a low-post bank shot by Hailey Ann Maeda with 12:39 to go in half two.

Whitworth responded with a 7-0 run and took a 38-36 lead on a right-baseline jumper by Katara Belton-Sharp with 10:43 left.

After a couple of lead changes and a tie, the Pirates were clinging to a two-point spread, 43-41, with 8:23 to go.

Whitman rattled off eight straight points over the next two minutes plus. Johns completed a three-point play at the 6:04 mark to give the Missionaries a six-point cushion, 49-43.

The Pirates used an 11-1 run over the next 4:05 to take the upper hand for good. Emily Travis and Jamie Lyons drained back-to-back 3s to begin the uprising. A drive by K.C. McConnell with 1:59 on the clock closed out the streak and put Whitworth up by four, 54-50.

“We did a better job of moving the ball and made that extra pass,” Higgs said.

“We did not get out consistently and guard shooters,” Ferenz said. “They did a good job of finding shooters.”

The final point scored by the Pirates came on a charity toss by Travis with 19.3 seconds left.

Whitman put itself in position to eke out a win with four points over the final 1:59. Anderegg sandwiched a lay-in between a pair of freebies by Johns to set up the dramatic finish.

The statistical good news for Whitman is that it outrebounded Whitworth 53-31 — thanks in part to White’s 16. The bad news is that it missed all seven of its tries from beyond the arc, went 10-of-17 from the charity stripe, and committed 20 turnovers.

“We never found an offensive rhythm,” Ferenz said. “We’re disappointed because we worked so hard to get a home playoff game. We didn’t execute down the stretch.”

“We’re happy to be playing on Saturday,” Higgs said. “The top four teams (in the NWC) are evenly matched. It’s fun to play these games.”

Whitworth 55, Whitman 54

WHITWORTH (55) — Lyons 3-13 2-2 9, Pich 3-4 0-0 8, Lahue 1-4 0-0 3, Travis 4-10 2-4 13, Johnson 1-6 0-1 3, McConnell 3-10 0-0 7, Knutsen 1-2 0-0 3, Fleming 0-2 0-0 0, Belton-Sharp 4-8 0-0 9. Totals 20-59 4-7 55.

WHITMAN (54) — Johns 8-15 4-7 20, Traver 2-4 1-2 5, White 2-8 1-3 5, Madden 1-9 1-1 3, Anderegg 5-12 1-2 11, Buse 0-3 0-0 0, Maine 0-0 2-2 2, Lovelace 1-1 0-0 2, Maeda 3-5 0-0 6. Totals 22-57 10-17 54.

Halftime score — Tied at 24. 3-point goals — Whitworth 11-26 (Travis 3-5, Picha 2-3, Knutsen 1-1, Lahue 1-3, Johnson 1-3, Belton-Sharp 1-3, Lyons 1-4, McConnell 1-4), Whitman none. Total fouls — Whitworth 18, Whitman 12. Fouled out — Whitworth (Travis). Technical fouls — none. Rebounds — Whitworth 31 (Picha 5, Johnson 5), Whitman 53 (White 16). Turnovers — Whitworth 11, Whitman 20. Assists — Whitworth 10 (Travis 3, McConnell 3), Whitman 7 (Traver 3).

NWC All-Star Teams

First team

Name School Position Class

Kristina Williams Lewis & Clark G Sr.

Sarah Anderegg Whitman F Jr.

Kelsey McKinnis Puget Sound G Sr.

Sara Villanueva Lewis & Clark G Sr.

Hannah Munger George Fox P Sr.

Emily Travis Whitworth G Sr.

Second team

Name School Position Class

Paige Jensen Pacific (Ore.) F Jr.

Heather Johns Whitman G So.

Samantha Potter PLU P Jr.

Emily Guthrie Whitworth G Sr.

Katelyn Henson Linfield G So.

Honorable mention

Name School Position Class

Megan Arnoldy George Fox F Jr.

Jami Roos George Fox PG So.

Haley Cusick George Fox PG Jr.

Tayler Wang Lewis & Clark G Jr.

Kaely Maltman Linfield F Jr.

Alex Pfefferle Pacific (Ore.) G So.

Amanda Forshay Puget Sount G So.

Meghan White Whitman P Jr.

KC McConnell Whitworth G Fr.

Kayla Johnson Whitworth G Jr.

Sophie Wilson Willamette G Sr.

NWC Coach of the Year: Michelle Ferenz, Whitman

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Comments

huntinwr says...

Happily, Whitman's season hasn't ended. Their record of 20-5 earned them a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament. They will play Cal Lutheran this Friday in Portland.

Posted 25 February 2013, 1:47 p.m. Suggest removal

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