In a battle of ranked opponents, the undefeated Whitman Missionaries women’s basketball team pulled away for an 84-69 road victory over the Whitworth Pirates.
Whitworth (18-6, 12-3) still had a mathematical shot for a tie in the Northwest Conference standings, but the Missionaries (24-0, 14-0) ended any hopes of the upset with timely shooting and aggressive rebounding.
The loss ends a seven-game winning streak for the Pirates since they lost by five points at Whitman on Jan. 21.
“We just didn’t rebound,” said coach Helen Higgs, who earlier this year notched her 300th victory at Whitworth. “With a team that talented, you can’t give them extra possessions.”
The Missionaries, which are ranked No.2 in the D3hoops.com top 25, won the rebound battle 41-20 over Whitworth, which entered the game at No. 25.
The Missionaries were led by guard Heather Johns, who scored inside and out, en route to 23 points and six rebounds. She was one of five Whitman players to score double figures on a team that shot 54.7 percent from the floor for the game.
Whitworth was led by Kendra Lahue, who hit 4 of 7 attempts behind the arc, for 16 points. Guards Kayla Johnson had 14, K.C. McConnell had 11 and Lexie Zappone had 10 points for Whitworth.
The teams played virtually even in the paint and points off turnovers, but Whitworth just couldn’t match the shooters from Whitman. The Pirates finished the game hitting 44.1 percent of their shots from the floor.
“The way they shot in the second half was the difference,” Higgs said of Whitman.
Higgs said she told her team after the game to remember the feel of disappointment, because they don’t want it repeated in the playoffs and a possible third game with Whitman.
“That needs to be our driving force,” she said.