KIRKLAND, Wash. - The Whitworth University women's basketball team used a 15-0 run in the second half to overcome Northwest University in an 83-78 nonconference winin NU Pavilion on Saturday afternoon. The Pirates improve to 6-3 on the season, while the Eagles fall to 9-6 overall.
Senior Kayla Johnson gave the Pirates a 5-0 lead in the early going, opening the game with a three-pointer. Sophomore KC McConnell swiped the ball on the defensive end, running out ahead of the pack for a lay-in to give Whitworth a six point lead four minutes into the game. Northwest fought back, tying the game and taking the lead, before the Pirates went ahead on a pair of free throws from junior Kendra Knutsen. In the final seconds of the first half, Northwest's Domi Mendezona was fouled on a made three-pointer. Mendezona sank the free throw to send the teams into halftime tied 35-35.
After trading baskets in the early going of the second half, the Eagles used an 11-2 run to take a 52-43 lead at the 13:17 mark. The Pirates responded with a 15-0 run that included three-point baskets from McConnell, sophomore Alexis McLeod and a jumper from sophomore Lexie Zappone to take a 58-52 lead with 9:22 left in the game. Each time the Eagles attempted to cut into the lead and slow the game by sending the Pirates to the free throw line down the stretch, Whitworth responded by sinking both shots at the charity stripe. In the final 2:22, the Pirates went 13-16 from the line.
Whitworth forced 20 Northwest turnovers, which led to 17 points for the Pirates. Whitworth shot 42.2 percent from the floor, while shooting 77.8 percent from the free throw line.
Kayla Johnson posted her second 24 point game in as many games to lead the Pirates, while Lexie Zappone matched her career-high with 10 rebounds. KC McConnell added 18 points and had a team-high four steals in the win.
Four Eagles scored in double figures, led by Sanda Milovic and Domi Mendezona who each scored 16 points. Jordan Asher added 15 points, while Chanara Greene chipped in 14 points. Milovic led the Eagles with nine rebounds, while Greene pulled down eight boards. Mendezona dished out a game-high eight assists.
Next up, Whitworth opens the Northwest Conference season at Pacific (Ore.) on January 3rd at 6:00 p.m.