Cassie Pilkinton scored 11 of her 20 points in the second half and the Whitworth women’s basketball team (13-11, 9-6) used a 71-69 victory over host Whitman (11-13, 6-9) in Walla Walla to clinch a Northwest Conference tournament berth for the first time in five seasons.
Adding 12 points for the Pirates was Leah Pomante, whose free throw with 12 seconds left gave them a four-point lead that held up as the Missionaries were limited to a pair of free throws.
The Pirates turn their attention to Linfield in the season finale, with a chance to catch third-seeded Lewis & Clark still possible with a win Saturday.
Wade Gebbers hit 6 of 12 attempts from 3-point range and finished with a career-best 20 points to lead four players in double figures as seventh-ranked Whitworth (22-2, 15-0) earned its 21st consecutive win with a 70-57 victory over Whitman (12-12, 6-9) in Walla Walla.
Whitworth held Whitman scoreless for the first 7 minutes and without a field goal for the final 6 minutes.
The Pirates hit 9 of 24 first-half 3-pointers and built a 13-point lead by halftime.