WALLA WALLA — Whitman senior forward Mary Madden came up big Friday night in her final regular-season home basketball game on George Ball Court at Sherwood Center.
Madden scored a team-high 13 points, including a tie-breaking 3-pointer with one minute left in overtime, and intercepted an in-bounds pass with three seconds to go to secure a 49-46 Northwest Conference women’s victory over George Fox.
“I’m so excited for Mary Madden,” Whitman coach Michelle Ferenz said. “She played very well. She’s steady, makes the right reads. We rely on her.”
The Missionaries are now 11-3 in the conference and 18-4 overall.
“We came in (to the season) without an all-conference player,” Ferenz said. “They have embraced the challenge.”
George Fox, ranked No. 18 by the website D3Hoops.com, slipped to 10-3 and 17-5.
The exciting finish ended a night in which both teams struggled offensively. Whitman shot just 27 percent from the field (18-of-67) and the Bruins made only 31 percent of their attempts (19-of-60).
One could argue, however, that the offensive shortcomings were not surprising. Whitman and George Fox rank first and second in the league in points allowed per game — 51.8 and 52.7, respectively.
“Both teams are incredibly solid defensively,” Ferenz said.
The Missionaries broke away from a 16-14, first-half edge with a 9-1 run over a three-minute, 14-second stretch late in opening frame. Sarah Anderegg and Madden sank two free throws apiece to start the surge, Meghan White converted a layup and Tiffani Traver drilled a 3 to give Whitman a 25-15 lead at the 2:24 mark. It was a margin it would take to the halftime locker room.
George Fox managed just five field goals on 26 shots in the opening half. The Missionaries were 9-of-36.
The Bruins chipped away at the 10-point deficit throughout the second half and tied the game at 37 on a low-block basket by 6-foot-5 post Hannah Munger with 2:50 remaining. Munger, a second-team All-American in 2010-11, led all scorers in the game with 16 points.
Heather Johns put Whitman up 39-37 on a jumper with 1:44 on the clock.
But Hayley Cusick cashed in a Missionary turnover with a lay-in that tied the game at 39 with 20 seconds to go.
Madden put up a free-throw line jumper in the closing seconds, but it did not fall, resulting in overtime.
Following two ties and four lead changes, Johns penetrated into the middle the Bruins’ zone defense and rifled a pass to Madden in the deep left corner. Madden’s twine tickler gave Whitman a 47-44 lead.
“It was a product of them knowing each other so well,” Ferenz said. “Mary is such a great kid.”
George Fox responded on a bucket by Munger with 33.2 seconds left. She was fouled on the offensive sequence, but was unable to knock down the free throw that would have completed a three-point play and tied the game.
Johns missed the front end of a one-and-one with 22.3 seconds to go, which left the door ajar for a possible Bruins’ triumph.
But Munger clanked an in-the-lane hook shot off the front of the rim with five seconds to go. A held ball occurred on the rebound with three seconds on the clock. The possession arrow favored Whitman.
Johns was fouled in the backcourt before the ensuing in-bounds toss and sank two free throws for the final margin of victory before Madden’s game-clinching play.
Anderegg and Johns shared rebounding honors in the game with 10 apiece. The Missionaries outboarded the Bruins 58-43.
“The kids did a great job on the boards, especially in the second half,” Ferenz said.
Friday’s game was the last regular-season game at home for Madden and fellow senior Emilie Gilbert.
Whitman closes out its regular season on the road. It plays at Willamette on Friday and Linfield on Saturday.
WHITMAN 49, GEORGE FOX 46, OT
GEORGE FOX (46) — Blizzard 0-1 0-0 0, Hays 0-4 0-0 0, Cusick 4-11 0-0 8, McConnell 0-0 0-0 0, Benner 2-7 0-2 5, Arnoldy 3-6 2-2 9, Miner 0-4 0-0 0, Roos 1-11 0-2 2, Munger 6-13 4-7 16, Morse 0-0 0-0 0, Wolfe 3-3 0-0 6. Totals 19-60 6-13 46.
WHITMAN (49) — Johns 2-14 4-5 8, Traver 1-6 0-0 3, White 5-10 0-0 10, Madden 4-13 3-4 13, Anderegg 3-8 3-4 9, Buse 0-2 0-0 0, Maine 0-2 0-0 0, Lovelace 2-6 0-0 4, Maeda 1-6 0-0 2. Totals 18-67 10-13 49.
Halftime score — Whitman 25-15. End of regulation — Tied 39. 3-point goals — George Fox 2-23 (Arnoldy 1-3, Benner 1-4, Blizzard 0-1, Miner 0-2, Cusick 0-4, Roos 0-9), Whitman 3-12 (Madden 2-6, Traver 1-4, Anderegg 0-1, Buse 0-1). Total fouls—George Fox 16, Whitman 12. Fouled out— George Fox (Arnoldy), Whitman (White). Technical fouls—none. Rebounds— George Fox 43 (Benner 7, Munger 7), Whitman 58 (Johns 10, Anderegg 10). Turnovers—George Fox 12, Whitman 15. Assists— George Fox 7 (Cusick 3), Whitman 8 (Johns 3).