Whitworth Women Cruise Over Banana Slugs - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Whitworth Women Cruise Over Banana Slugs

Lexie Zappone played 36 hard fought minutes to help the Pirates defeat UC- Santa Cruz. Lexie Zappone played 36 hard fought minutes to help the Pirates defeat UC- Santa Cruz.

by Whitworth University Sports Information

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The Whitworth University women’s basketball team came out victorious in its first road game of the season with a 68-61 win over UC Santa Cruz in the Hampton Inn Classic II in West Field House on Friday evening. Whitworth improved to 2-1 on the season, while UC Santa Cruz fell to 3-1 overall.

“We were happy to get our first road win for the year,” Whitworth head coach Helen Higgs said. “We did a great job on the boards and our defensive effort made up for our turnovers.”

Senior Jamie Lyons gave Whitworth a 2-0 lead after a layup in the first thirty seconds of play. Sophomore KC McConnell and senior Kayla Johnson gave Whitworth a 6-2 advantage with layups of their own, but a full court press from the Banana Slugs forced 12 Pirate turnovers in the first half and kept UC Santa Cruz close to Whitworth. After trailing 34-28, junior Jessica Kramer hit a jumper on Whitworth’s final possession of the half to send the Pirates to the locker room trailing 34-30.

Lyons opened the second half with another quick layup and McConnell sank a pair of free throws to tie the game 34-34. Sophomore Lexie Zappone used two jump shots and a layup to put Whitworth in front 44-40. A three-pointer from junior Katara Belton-Sharp with 12:03 left in the game put the Pirates in front 48-42 and sparked a 7-0 run that put just enough distance between the teams that UC Santa Cruz could not overcome. Junior Kendra Knutsen gave Whitworth its largest lead, 57-45 with a three at the 7:37 mark. Kramer sealed the Whitworth victory with a layup, allowing Whitworth to hand UC Santa Cruz its first loss of the season.

Whitworth held a 40-28 advantage on the glass, with 11 offensive rebounds leading to 13 second chance points.

Kayla Johnson led the Pirates with 16 points and seven rebounds. Jessica Kramer added 12 points and pulled down six rebounds, while KC McConnell chipped in 10 points and dished out three assists. Lexie Zappone had three steals to lead the Pirates.

Ryane Ortiz led the Banana Slugs with 14 points, while Leah Parrish grabbed a game-high eight rebounds. Sarah Mackey added 10 points for UC Santa Cruz, and Trina Torres had four steals in the game.

Whitworth will take on Redlands at 1:00 p.m. tomorrow at the Hampton Inn Classic II in Santa Cruz.

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