SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth University women's basketball team maintained its perfect conference record with a 92-50 win over Pacific Lutheran University on Friday night in Whitworth Fieldhouse. Whitworth improves to 9-3 on the season, with a 3-0 record in the Northwest Conference, while Pacific Lutheran falls to 5-7 overall, 1-2 in the NWC.
"Our defensive pressure set the tone and got us easy baskets," Whitworth head coach Helen Higgs said. "Having confidence helps you hit the threes and do the little things that help make you successful. We kept our intensity up for 40 minutes, even with a lead."
After trailing 7-5 in the first half, Whitworth went on a 5-0 run at the free throw line on free throws from sophomore KC McConnell and senior Kendra Lahue to take a 10-7 lead. The Pirates extended the lead to double digits on a jumper in the paint from junior Jessica Kramer and a three-pointer from junior Katara Belton-Sharp. Whitworth took a 44-20 lead into halftime.
The Pirates continued to push in the second half, going up by as many as 37 on a Lahue layup with 12:42 left in the game. Pacific Lutheran responded with an 11-2 run, but the deficit was too great to overcome. Sophomore Faith Emerson gave the Pirates their largest lead of the night for the 92-40 victory.
Whitworth's defense was stellar yet again, as the Pirates had 19 steals and forced 32 Lute turnovers. The Pirates scored 30 points off of turnovers and got 31 points from the bench. All 13 members of the team saw action, with 12 players scoring.
Senior Kayla Johnson led the Pirates with 22 points, and was a perfect 3-3 from behind three-point arc. Johnson and KC McConnell shared the leading rebounder honors, with seven boards apiece. McConnell added 16 points for Whitworth. Katara Belton-Sharp added a season-best 13 points and Kendra Lahue chipped in 11 points. Sophomore Lexie Zappone led the Pirates with five assists, while sophomore Alexis McLeod had five steals.
Samantha Potter led the Lutes with 13 points, nine rebounds and four steals. Katelyn Smith added 12 points and six rebounds.
Next up, Whitworth hosts Puget Sound at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, January 11th. Pacific Lutheran travels to Walla Walla to face Whitman on Saturday as well.