Higgs Wins 300th, Pirates Cruise Past PLU - NBC Right Now/KNDO/KNDU Tri-Cities, Yakima, WA |

Higgs Wins 300th, Pirates Cruise Past PLU

Helen Higgs earned her 300th career win on Saturday when the Whitworth Women trounced the Lutes. Helen Higgs earned her 300th career win on Saturday when the Whitworth Women trounced the Lutes.

by Whitworth University Sports Information

PARKLAND, Wash. – The Whitworth University women’s basketball team gave head coach Helen Higgs her 300th win as the Pirates’ head coach with an 89-56 win over Pacific Lutheran in Northwest Conference action on Names Family Court Saturday evening.

Whitworth improves to 16-5 on the season, with a 10-2 NWC record. Pacific Lutheran falls to 7-14 overall, with a 3-9 mark in the NWC.

“Reaching 300 wins is a great accomplishment. I think it shows the quality of players we’ve had in our program and the quality of coaches that have been on my staff,” Whitworth head coach Helen Higgs said.

Senior Kayla Johnson scored in the opening minute to give Whitworth the first basket of the game, and took a 10-7 lead on a jumper from Johnson. The Lutes battled back and took a 13-12 lead and went up by as many as five points on free throws from Katelyn Smith.

Johnson stopped the Pacific Lutheran run with a layup at the 10:10 mark. With the basket, she moved into sole possession of 10th on the Whitworth women’s basketball all-time scoring list. Sophomore KC McConnell sank a pair of free throws to give Whitworth a 21-19 lead, but the Lutes pushed ahead by five points again. Senior Kendra Lahue made one of two free throws with 14 seconds left in the half to pull the Pirates within three, 34-29, at halftime.

After PLU took a six point lead to open the second half, Whitworth went on a 7-0 lead to take a 39-38 lead. The teams tied and traded leads before McConnell sparked a 6-0 run with a pair of free throws. Sophomore Lexie Zappone sank a free throw to give Whitworth its first double digit lead, 55-45, and then junior Kendra Knutsen found senior Jamie Lyons for a layup that put the Pirates up 57-45. The Pirates stretched the lead for the rest of the game, going on to win 89-56.

"I thought (Pacific Lutheran) came out with more intensity than we did and we didn't respond well right away," Higgs said.

The Pirates shot 56.3 percent (18-32) in the second half and were 9-15 from the free throw line. The Lutes finished the game 17-29 from the free throw line, going 8-19 in the second half. Pacific Lutheran had 20 team turnovers, which Whitworth turned into 24 points. Both teams had 10 offensive rebounds, but Whitworth held a 12-7 edge in second chance points.

Kayla Johnson led the Pirates with 21 points. Kendra Lahue sank a season-high five three-pointers on her way to 19 points and a team-high seven rebounds. Kendra Knutsen tied her career-high with 12 points in the game, while dishing out six assists and recording a game-high three steals.

Megan Abdo led the Lutes with 11 points. Katelyn Smith posted a double-double, with 10 points and 10 rebounds. Sarah Barnes added 10 points for the Lutes.

Whitworth returns to Spokane to host Linfield and George Fox next weekend. The Pirates open the weekend against the Wildcats at 6:00 p.m. on Friday, February 14th and host the Bruins at 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 15th.