WALLA WALLA — With senior Hilary White and first-year teammate Kelly Peterson scoring 16 points apiece, the Whitman College women’s basketball team snapped a five-game losing streak with a 71-63 Northwest Conference victory over Linfield College here Saturday night in Sherwood Center.
Whitman, which ran away to a 15-point lead in the first half, staved off a number of Linfield comeback bids to nail down the win. The Missionaries improved to 2-6 in the NWC and 7-10 overall. The Wildcats, also 2-6 in conference, are 4-13 on the season.
Whitman held Linfield scoreless for a span of nearly nine minutes in the first half, building a 27-12 lead. The Wildcats rallied, closing out the half on a 12-5 run to trail 32-24 at the break.
Linfield drilled a pair of 3-pointers to open the second half, trimming its deficit to two points. But Peterson and White answered back with treys for Whitman to restore an eight-point cushion for the home team.
Whitman stretched its lead back to 13 points, 55-42, by the mid-point of the half. Linfield wasn’t quite done, however, getting a 3-pointer from Lindsey Gummersall with five minutes left to close within 57-52.
White stemmed the tide for Whitman, knocking down her fourth 3-pointer of the night, and the Wildcats drew no closer than six points the rest of the way.
White and Peterson also snared six rebounds apiece for Whitman, which battled Linfield to a 41-41 stalemate on the backboards. The backcourt duo also combined for eight of Whitman’s 18 assists.
Senior Michelle Krall and Mary Madden, another first-year Missionary, added 11 and 10 points, respectively, and both players came down with six rebounds. Krall tallied nine of her points on a trio of 3-pointers in the game’s first 10 minutes.
Rebecca Sexton, Whitman’s 6-foot-3 junior post, was a force in the middle, blocking five shots and grabbing five boards to go with seven points. Sophomore Jennifer Keyes came off the bench to nail a pair of threes en route to eight points in just 12 minutes.
Gummersall had a big night for the Wildcats with five 3-pointers and a game-high 23 points. Gretchen Owens added 17 points and six rebounds. Kelsey Forrest chipped in 10 points while Chrissy Baumgartner collected 10 rebounds.
Whitman finished the night with a dozen 3-pointers, one more than the Wildcats.
Whitman stays at home next weekend to host Lewis & Clark on Friday and Willamette on Saturday. Both games start at 6 p.m. in Sherwood Center.
Linfield is in Tacoma next weekend to play at Pacific Lutheran on Friday and Puget Sound on Saturday. Those games also start at 6 p.m.