NEWBERG, Ore. - With a determined upset bid falling just a few points short, the Whitman College women dropped a 50-46 Northwest Conference basketball decision to first-place George Fox here Friday night.
The Bruins, who improved to 11-0 in conference and 18-2 on the season, scored the game final's four points to edge the Missionaries, who dropped to 4-7 in the NWC and 9-11 overall.
Whitman led 30-26 at halftime and doubled that lead to eight points, 35-27, early in second stanza. First-year forward Mary Madden came off the Missionary bench to score a pair of buckets, the second of which had the Missionaries in front 39-33 with just under 13 minutes left to play.
The Bruins reeled off eight unanswered points to lead 41-39, but Whitman sophomore Jennifer Keyes took a long pass from first-year guard Kelly Peterson and converted a layin to even the count at 41-all.
Senior Michelle Krall followed with a jumper at the 6:24 mark to give the Missionaries their final lead at 43-41.
After Rebecca Sexton, Whitman's 6-foot-3 junior center, blocked a shot inside, the Bruins turned an offensive rebound into an Arianna Mohsenian 3-pointer to put the home team back on top 44-43 with 4:37 on the clock.
Following a Missionary turnover, Hannah Munger stretched the George Fox lead to three points with a pair of free throws. Whitman senior Hilary White quickly erased that lead, drilling a long 3-pointer to forge a 46-46 deadlock with just under four minutes left on the clock.
Those were the last points Whitman put on the scoreboard, however. Keisha Gordon hit both ends of a one-and-one free throw opportunity to give George Fox a 48-46 cushion with 2:24 left. Munger's basket inside completed the scoring with 1:45 remaining.
With both teams shooting just under 33 percent from the floor for the game, the difference came at the charity stripe. The Bruins made 13-of-20 freebies while Whitman went to the line for just five attempts - two in the second half - and made three.
The Missionaries made just three of 14 3-points attempts, but the Bruins were worse, making 3-of-18 shots from long range.
Whitman finished with 20 field goals, three more than George Fox, but couldn't overcome the difference at the free-throw stripe. The Bruins won the backboard battle 44-36.
Whitman led for much of a first half in which it committed just two turnovers and shot a respectable 41 percent from the floor. Back-to-back 3-pointers from Peterson and senior Dawna Mello vaulted the Missionaries into a 17-12 lead midway through the half.
After George Fox rallied for an 18-17 lead, Whitman uncorked a 12-4 run to grab a 29-22 advantage with two minutes left in the half. The Bruins closed out the half with a 4-1 spurt to narrow the gap at the break.
White paced Whitman with 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals. Sexton added nine points and six rebounds, Mello had seven points and four boards, and Peterson finished with six points and five assists.
Munger, a 6-5 first-year center, led George Fox with 15 points and 15 rebounds. Munger, who leads the NWC in blocked shots, swatted five more without picking up a single foul. Elise Kuenzi chipped in with 13 points for the Bruins and Gordon had nine.
WHITMAN (46) - White 5-12 1-1 12, Krall 2-15 0-0 4, Sexton 4-14 1-2 9, Mello 3-6 0-0 7, Peterson 2-6 1-2 6, Gilbert 0-1 0-0 0, Madden 2-2 0-0 4, Brice 0-1 0-0 0, Keyes 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 20-61 3-5 46.
GEORGE FOX (50) - Kuenzi 4-11 4-7 13, Gordon 2-7 5-5 9, Munger 6-14 3-4 15, Keener 0-2 0-0 0, Gardner 2-7 0-0 4, Rinehart-Young 0-1 0-2 0, Mohsenian 2-5 1-2 7, Simmons 1-3 0-0 2, Samples 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 17-52 13-20 50.
Halftime - Whitman 30, George Fox 26. 3-point goals - Whitman 3-14 (Mello 1-1, Peterson 1-2, White 1-6, Gilbert 0-1, Krall 0-4), George Fox 3-18 (Mohsenian 2-5, Kuenzi 1-3, Keener 0-2, Samples 0-2, Gordon 0-3, Gardner 0-3). Total fouls- Whitman 14, George Fox 10. Fouled out - none. Technical fouls - none. Rebounds - Whitman 37 (White 8), George Fox 48 (Munger 15). Turnovers-Whitman 9, George Fox 12. Assists - Whitman 11 (Peterson 5), George Fox 8 (Gardner 5).