WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- Bouncing back from narrow season-opening losses to a pair of tough opponents, the Whitman College women's basketball team posted an impressive victory over another quality foe on Sunday, blitzing Tufts 70-51 at the Williams Tip-Off Tournament in Williamstown, Mass.
Whitman, now 1-2 on the season, got a big boost from 6-foot first-year forward Heather Lovelace, who made six of eights shots from the floor while scoring a game-high 13 points and snaring six rebounds in what was her college debut.
Tufts, coming off an 18-6 campaign a year ago, lost its season opener yesterday to fifth-ranked Babson after failing to hold a nine-point halftime lead.
Whitman used a 13-6 run late in the first half to build a 31-24 cushion. Lovelace, who collected three baskets during that stretch, finished the half with 11 points.
With five different Missionaries putting points on the board, Whitman opened the second half on a 10-2 run to lead 43-29 with 15 minutes left to play.
Collier Clegg, who paced Tufts with 13 points, hit back-to-back 3-pointers to help keep the Jumbos close at 45-38.
Senior Jennifer Keyes momentarily stemmed the tide for Whitman with a 3-point strike of her own, but Clegg answered back with another three to make it a 48-41 game with more than nine minutes left.
But the Jumbos, who were whistled for 23 fouls, sent senior Jenele Peterson, sophomore Sarah Anderegg and junior Kelly Peterson to the free throw line over the next 90 seconds, and the Missionary trio converted five of six freebies to push the lead back to 53-41.
Clegg fouled out of the game with just under eight minutes to play, but Tufts got another 3-pointer from Bre Dufault to shrink Whitman's lead back to single digits at 53-44.
The Missionaries turned aside that final challenge with an 8-0 surge, getting buckets from senior Anna Forge and sophomore Tiffani Traver and four more free throws from Kelly Peterson and junior Shiann Dreadfulwater.
After the Jumbos scored the next five points, slicing the deficit to 61-49 with 4:33 left to play, Whitman closed out the game on a 9-2 roll.
Jenele Peterson, who made 10 of 13 free throws, finished with 12 points, four assists, three rebounds and two steals. Kelly Peterson added nine points and six rebounds while junior Mary Madden was good for seven points and the same number of boards.
Traver was four of eight from the floor for eight points. Anderegg and Dreadfulwater kicked in six points apiece.
With Lovelace hitting six of her eight field goal attempts, Whitman shot 43.1 percent from the floor for the game while holding Tufts to 29.3 percent.
The Missionaries also out-rebounded the Jumbos 41-35 and created more turnovers than they committed (21-18).
Jenele Peterson, who averaged 15 points, 3.0 rebounds, 3.0 steals and 2.5 assists in her two weekend games, was named to the all-tournament team.
Tufts, which plays in the New England Small College Athletic Conference, also got 12 points and seven rebounds from Hayley Kanner, nine points and eight boards from Kate Barnosky, and eight more points from Dufault.
The Missionaries, now on their Thanksgiving break, gather in the Seattle area and play the NAIA's Northwest University at 4 p.m. Wednesday in Kirkland, Wash..
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; email@example.com