WALLA WALLA — The nationally fifth-ranked Whitman women’s basketball team continued its winning ways during the annual Kim Evanger-Raney Memorial Classic that wrapped up Saturday night at Sherwood Center.
The Missionaries improved to a perfect 8-0 with a 78-65 victory over Eastern Oregon on Saturday.
Whitman disposed of Corban, 80-57, on Friday.
Sarah Anderegg was the star of Saturday’s contest. The 6-foot-2 senior forward/post scored 32 points on 11-of-15 shooting and a 10-for-11 showing from the free throw line.
Anderegg also nabbed five rebounds and dished out five assists.
In any event, it was whisked clean by a tornado of sharpshooting and transition flair just after halftime as the fifth-ranked Missionaries women’s basketball team dispatched Corban University 80-57 on the opening night of the Kim Evanger-Raney Memorial Classic Friday at Sherwood Center.
“I was proud, especially in the second half, that we came out with a desire to pull away,” said junior Heather Johns, who led all scorers with 23 points, plus six assists and a game-high three steals. “I was happy to see us run through our offenses. There were chances for people to go one-on-one and be selfish and score, but we really tried to work on our ball movement.”
That selfless approach helped grease the skids on the game’s decisive sequence. Johns hit two 3-pointers, and senior Tiffani Traver, sophomore Hailey Mcdonald and freshman Chelsi Brewer splashed one apiece during a 21-2 Whitman run that erupted from the 15:15 mark of the second half. The burst shook Corban free for good; the visitors from the NAIA Cascade Collegiate Conference had opened the final half with a spurt of their own, pulling to within two points, 46-44, when Jade Lowery’s 3-pointer capped a 12-2 run.
“Corban’s a pretty good team,” Missionaries coach Michelle Ferenz said. “They have some nice tools and they did some things well that we haven’t seen. They ran a really solid zone (defense). That’s what this weekend is about,” she added. “It’s to get better.”
Whitman (6-0) seemed poised to pull away after a 22-11 run to lock out the first half. The real finishing kick came in the second.
It was Whitman’s first game since Dec. 1 and just its second home game of the season, but the Missionaries were plucky and sharp. They overcame 39 percent shooting and some unfamiliar, challenging looks from Corban by sharing the ball (with assists on 21 of 28 baskets), protecting the ball (a mere eight turnovers offset by eight steals) and attacking the glass (45 rebounds to Corban’s 38).
Corban entered the Classic having defeated a trio of Northwest Conference teams, but could not replicate prior successes against Lewis and Clark, Willamette and Linfield versus the conference’s top dog.
Johns, who pierced the 20-point plateau for the fifth time in six starts, wasn’t surprised that her team was crisp after a nearly two-week layoff.
“Our team is generally pretty good at going hard in practice,” she said. “We know it’s important to practice hard. I don’t think you saw a lag in effort or rhythm tonight.”
“It’s hard playing against the same people for 12 days,” added sophomore Hailey Ann Maeda, whose rebounding ferocity and intensity on defense were momentum-swinging sparks off the bench. “We played really cohesively and looked for each other. Instead of good shots, we looked for great ones.”
A barrage of said greatness pried open huge shooting windows in the Corban zone and broke open the game. It started with Mcdonald’s wide-open 3 at the 15:15 mark. Then Johns coolly drilled consecutive 3-pointers that straddled a Corban turnover -- one of 21 forced by Whitman.
Traver, who complemented backcourt mate Johns with 11 points and six assists, ripped a 3 after an offensive rebound. Then Mcdonald swished a long jump shot, her toes on the 3-point arc. Alysse Ketner tallied inside, Maeda muscled in a lay-up and Brewer nailed a 3.
“We didn’t shoot well against the zone to start. We weren’t patient. We weren’t looking for things on the baseline or in the middle,” Ferenz said. “I’m glad we responded how we did in the second half. We took shots in rhythm.”
Meghan White had 12 points on 5-of-9 shooting and nine rebounds for the winners, and Sarah Anderegg added an unassuming double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds, seven on the offensive window. Maeda chipped in seven points and six boards in 20 hard-nosed minutes.
Nine different players scored for Whitman, and eight made at least one field goal.
Whitman hosts Eastern Oregon, a 77-71 winner over Whitworth in the tournament opener, at 6 p.m. Saturday night to conclude the Classic.
WHITMAN 80, CORBAN 57
CORBAN (57) — Benedict 3-5 4-5 13, Lowery 3-8 2-2 10, Young 3-10 2-2 9, Pilgeram 2-4 2-2 7, Vanweerdhuizen 3-8 0-0 6, Vanderstoel 0-1 0-0 0, Holboke 1-4 3-4 6, Wilcox 2-5 1-2 5, Salness 0-1 1-2 1, Erskine 0-2 0-0 0, Christenson 0-2 0-0 0, Evans 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-50 15-19 57
WHITMAN (80) — Johns 8-17 5-5 23, Anderegg 3-10 6-6 12, White 5-9 2-4 12, Traver 4-5 0-0 11, Mcdonald 2-5 1-2 6, Maeda 3-13 1-4 7, Brewer 2-4 0-0 6, Ketner 1-3 0-0 2, Alindogan 0-2 1-2 1, Buse 0-1 0-0 0, Gray 0-2 0-0 0, McGann 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-71 16-23 80.
Halftime — Whitman 44-32. 3-point goals — Corban 8-14 (Benedict 3-4, Lowery 2-3, Holboke 1-1, Young 1-2, Pilgeram 1-2, Salness 0-1, Christenson 0-1), Whitman 8-21 (Traver 3-4, Johns 2-3, Brewer 2-4, Mcdonald 1-4, Anderegg 0-1, Buse 0-1, Ketner 0-2, Alindogan 0-2). Total fouls—Corban 19, Whitman 18. Fouled out— none. Technical fouls—none. Rebounds— Corban 38 (Vanweerdhuizen 9), Whitman 45 (Anderegg 11). Turnovers—Corban 21, Whitman 8. Assists— Corban 11 (Lowery 3), Whitman 21 (Johns 6, Traver 6).