Whitworth Women Win Big In Opener - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Whitworth Women Win Big In Opener

KC McConnel led the Pirates to victory in their opener. (Photo: Whitworth SID) KC McConnel led the Pirates to victory in their opener. (Photo: Whitworth SID)

by Whitworth University Sports Information

The Whitworth University women’s basketball team got things rolling in the second half as the Pirates opened the season with a 72-56 victory over Pomona-Pitzer Colleges in the Whit Classic on Friday evening.

"We really struggled early," Whitworth head coach Helen Higgs said. "We had several players who were having to fill new roles in our first game of the season."

Whitworth (1-0) got off to a slow start in the first half as Pomona-Pitzer (0-1) jumped out to a 4-0 led on straight points from Jenn Okonkwo. Junior Jessica Kramer gave Whitworth its first lead, 7-6, with a jumper at the 14:10 mark, but the Sagehens kept fighting. The teams traded leads throughout the first half, with an Alaina Woo layup giving Pomona-Pitzer its largest lead of the night, 15-10. Whitworth was able to take a 29-28 lead on a layup from senior Jamie Lyons with 1:40 left in the first half, but defensive breakdowns left McKenna VanderKley open under the basket in the waning seconds to give Pomona-Pitzer a 30-29 lead going into the break.

The Pirates began to warm up in the second-half as sophomore KC McConnell hit a three-pointer to put Whitworth in front 37-35 before the Sagehens used a 6-0 run to lead 44-41. Sophomore Lexie Zappone sparked the Pirates on three consecutive possessions, hitting a three to tie the score 44-44, finding sophomore Alexis McLeod for a jumper and then making a pass through the defense to hit Jessica Kramer for a fastbreak layup. Junior Katara Belton-Sharp kept the Pirates rolling, making a layup after stealing the ball on the defensive end. All-in-all, the Pirates made a 10-2 run to swing the momentum of the second half and Zappone sank a pair of free throws to give Whitworth the 72-56 opening win.

"We had to find our flow in the first half. Once we found our groove, we were clicking on both ends of the floor," Higgs said.

The Pirates forced 21 Sagehen turnovers, including two backcourt violations. Whitworth had 37 rebounds, 14 of which came on the offensive glass.

KC McConnell led the team with her first double-double of the season, 21 points and 10 rebounds. Katara Belton-Sharp added 12 points for the Pirates, while Jessica Kramer had eight rebounds, including three offensive boards. Lexie Zappone dished out a game-high nine assists and had three steals.

Jenn Okonkwo led the Sagehens with 22 points and 14 rebounds. Basha Brulee-Wills joined Okonkwo with a double-double, 10 points and 10 boards, while Amelia Hummel chipped in 11 points for Pomona-Pitzer.

Whitworth will face fifth-ranked St. Thomas in the Whit Classic nightcap on Saturday. The Pirates and the Tommies, who are coming off a 77-76 loss to 11th-ranked Whitman, will play a 6:00 p.m., following the Whitman-Pomona-Pitzer matchup at 4:00 p.m.

  • College

    • Press Pass Pullman: Week Seven

      On this week's episode of Press Pass Pullman, Mike Leach talks about what former Washington State A.D. Bill Moos meant to the University and what he hopes to see from the upcoming search to fill Moos' position. Leach also looks back on the many issues his team had against Cal, and looks ahead to a homecoming game against Colorado. In the Fan Question of the Week, he explains what he would name his boat (if he had one) and why.
    • Grizzly Sports Report, 10-16-17

      Wide Receiver Keenan Curran and Head Coach Bob Stitt join Shaun Rainey to talk about the big win over North Dakota and discuss the new Champions Center. 
    • Super 8 Plays of the Week 10/16

      Check out this week's top plays as we approach the end of the football regular season!

    • WSU names John Johnson interim director of athletics

      Johnson will assume the role of interim director effective Oct. 18 and will continue until a permanent director is named. He will not be a candidate for the permanent position.

    • Fan Fest kicks off 2017-18 season for Gonzaga

      Fans got their first look at the 2017-18 Zags with festivities on the court, including an intrasquad scrimmage. The Zags played a quartet of four-minute periods, with the second half running clock.

    • Whitworth escapes with a 17-14 win over Pacific Lutheran

      Whitworth overcame the absence of record-setting QB Ian Kolste with a total team effort to end a two-game losing streak.  The Pirates improved to 4-2 overall and 1-2 in the NWC.

    • Vandals come up short against Appalachian State 23-20

      The Vandals got up, 20-0, early in the third quarter after a Sedrick Thomas interception on the opening play of the half gave Idaho excellent field position. The Mountaineers stormed back, scoring 23 unanswered points.

    • Eagles continue Big Sky dominance with win over Montana State

      After nearly giving away the lead with fumbles on back-to-back possessions, the defense for No. 10/9 Eagles did the same moments later to help preserve a 31-19 EWU victory over Montana State.

    • Quick-striking Crusaders defeat MSUB men 3-1

      In the blink of an eye, Northwest Nazarene University had all the offense it needed to collect a 3-1 victory over Montana State University Billings on Saturday at the NNU Soccer Field.

    • Battlin’ Bears Run to 52-3 Win at Northern

      The Rocky Mountain College football team ran for 372 yards as they won at Montana State University-Northern, 52-3, on Saturday afternoon at Blue Pony Stadium.

    More
HD DOPPLER 6i
/