Emily Travis fueled a late 11-1 run with two 3-pointers Thursday night and the Whitworth Pirates (20-6) advanced to the Northwest Conference women’s basketball tournament championship game with a 55-54 win over Whitman (20-5) at Walla Walla.
The Pirates will play for the title and a berth in the NCAA Division III tournament at 7 p.m. Saturday against top-seeded Lewis & Clark (24-2) at Portland. Lewis & Clark defeated George Fox 75-59 in the other semifinal. Whitworth and the Pioneers split their NWC games this year, with the Pirates winning 53-52 at home three weeks ago.
The Pirates hadn’t won an NWC tournament game since 2002 and have never won the tourney title. Whitworth last went to nationals with an at-large berth in 2000.
Travis scored 12 of her team-high 13 points in the second half. The Pirates trailed 49-43 when Travis and Jamie Lyons hit 3-pointers 56 seconds apart for a tie with 5:08 left. Travis’ 3-pointer with 2:54 left put the Pirates ahead to stay at 52-50.
• The All-NWC team included four Whitworth players. The Pirates placed Travis on the first team, Emily Guthrie on the second team, while KC McConnell and Kayla Johnson received honorable mention.
Travis led the Pirates in scoring (11.2), assists (2.6) and steals (1.4) per game. Guthrie had 39 3-pointers when her season ended with a knee injury.
Eastern Washington 83, Portland State 51: Redshirt freshman Hayley Hodgins scored 20 of her career-high 24 points in the first half as the Eagles (15-10, 11-5 Big Sky Conference) rolled past the visiting Vikings (11-14, 5-11) at Reese Court and clinched a postseason berth.
Hodgins hit her first seven shots, including three 3-pointers, and finished 7 of 8 from the field and 7 of 8 from the free-throw line. Her previous high, 22 points, came against Portland State on Jan. 21.
Hodgins picked up her third and fourth fouls 22 seconds apart and exited for good with 12:15 left. EWU built its biggest lead (41 points) 3 minutes later.
EWU scored a season-high 46 points in the first half on 18-for-30 shooting from the floor. EWU had a season-low five turnovers.
EWU has four conference games left. The third-place Eagles trail Montana and Northern Colorado by two games.