The women’s basketball team defeated George Fox, 71-51, in the first round of the NCAA tournament on Friday for their third victory over the Bruins this season.
Coming into the game, senior forward Kendra Lahue had connected on 16 3-pointers over her last five games, hitting at a scorching 50%.
Her strong outside game would continue into this game on the first possession. Sophomore guard KC McConnell found Lahue in the corner to hit a well-contested 3-pointer and give the Pirates the early lead.
“It was awesome and the bench went crazy. It was so loud in there,” Lahue said.
Layups from senior guard Kayla Johnson and senior forward Jamie Lyons would extend the Pirates lead to 7-2, to continue their momentum from the NWC Tournament working.
A 7-0 run by the Bruins gave George Fox their first lead of the game at 18-17. However, sophomore guard Alexis Mcleod would hit a jumper to retake the lead for the Pirates and the teams would trade one and two-point leads for the rest of half, ending it with 28-26 Pirate advantage.
Similar to the first half, Whitworth would begin the second half with a 3-pointer from sophomore point guard Lexie Zappone, and would then score on four of their next five possessions to take a 40-35 lead.
The two teams would trade buckets for the next 12 minutes until another 3-pointer from Lahue gave the Pirates their biggest lead of the game at 56-46 with 3:03 to play in the game.
The Bruins were then forced to begin fouling the Pirates in order to make up the difference. Taking advantage, the Bucs hit 13 of 14 in the final 2:23, including 4-4 from junior point guard Kendra Knutsen.
“It’s a mental thing and lately we’ve been really confident at the line,” Knutsen said. “A bunch of us took a sports psychology class over Jan term so maybe that was it.”
Johnson finished with more than twice as many points and rebounds as anyone else for either team with 27 and 10 for her second consecutive double-double.
Lahue finished with 9 points and Zappone added 8 points and 3 steals.
The Pirates play Whitman at 7 p.m. tonight in a second round matchup hoping to repeat last week’s 68-65 NWC title game win over the Missionaries.
James Silberman Staff Writer
Contact James Silberman at email@example.com