The Pirates had a successful weekend as they battled both the Lewis & Clark Pioneers and the Linfield Wildcats in the first conference games of the season. The Pirates defeated the Pioneers, 67-42, and the Wildcats, 77-65.
On Friday, Dec. 4, the Pirates quickly jumped to a 25-5 lead in the first quarter against the Pioneers. Senior KC McConnell and sophomore Callie Hardwood both scored eight points in the quarter. Whitworth continued to battle throughout the game and ended the half with a 47-11 lead.
“This game went really well,” Hardwood said. “We jumped on them at the very beginning which set the momentum for the rest of the game and we just carried it on from there.”
Starting the second half, the Pirates extended their lead to 59-25. Whitworth kept their lead in the fourth quarter and ended the game 77-65.
“We started off very focused and solid tonight,” head coach Helen Higgs said. “We nally were able to overcome the nerves and new roles that we had been experiencing in earlier games this season.”
McConnell finished with a season high of 21 points with senior Faith Emerson adding nine points. Hardwood and sophomore Grace Douglas both contributed eight points.
“Defensively, our intensity has been the best it has been this year,” Higgs said. “KC McConnell stepped up and had a great game. She did a great job defensively, also. Jessica Thoens also did a really nice job of distributing the ball and rebounding.”
Coming off a strong victory, the Pirates emerged with another win against the Linfield Wildcats the following night. Whitworth started out slow, trailing the Wildcats 8-0 in the first quarter. However by the end of the quarter, the Pirates were able to shorten the distance between the two teams by trailing 19-16.
Emerson helped get the first lead of the game for the Pirates with a layup putting the lead at 20-19. The Wildcats pulled ahead once again to nish the half with a 36-34 score.
The big difference came in the third quarter when the Pirates’ defense stepped up and took better control. The Pirates ended the third quarter with a 58-56 lead.
Whitworth outscored the Wildcats 14-2 for the first six minutes of the fourth quarter to increase their lead to 72-58. The Pirates were able to maintain this lead throughout the rest of the quarter and defeated the Wildcats with a nal score of 77-65.
McConnell finished with another season high record of 23 points, breaking the previously achieved season high of 21 points that had been set the night before. Emerson had 19 points and a team high of nine rebounds.
“It’s just really exciting to watch the team come together and play really well and get ahead at the beginning of the season,” senior Mikayla Kraemer said.
The Pirates continue their season next weekend at the Kim Evanger Raney Classic in Walla Walla, Washington.
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