WALLA WALLA, Wash. -- With super senior Jenele Peterson contributing 19 points, five assists and three steals, Whitman College survived a late scare and polished off a season sweep of Puget Sound with a 66-59 Northwest Conference victory Saturday night in Sherwood Center.
Whitman, improving to 8-4 in the NWC and 12-9 overall, also took sole ownership of third place in the conference standings, dropping the Loggers to 7-5 and 11-10.
The victory was the latest step in a mid-season surge that has lifted Whitman to nine triumphs in 11 games since the start of the calendar year.
Puget Sound, losing for the fourth time in seven games, trailed 35-23 at intermission and saw its deficit deepen to 16 points at 51-35 by the midway point of the second half.
But the Loggers sharpened their shooting touch from long distance to scrap back into game, hitting six times from the 3-point arc over the next six minutes to draw within 55-52 with 3:56 still left to play.
That's when Peterson stepped into a three from the right wing, pumping some breathing room back into Whitman's lead.
With 1:22 remaining, Puget Sound's Jocelyn Riordan hit one of two free throws to make it a 59-55 contest.
As the game clock neared the one-minute mark, Peterson slipped a pass to junior Kelly Peterson for another Whitman three to boost the Missionary advantage to seven points.
Puget Sound uncorked four shots on its next possession, one of which was slammed over the Logger bench by Whitman senior Anna Forge for her 20th blocked shot of the season.
The visitors briefly narrowed the gap to five points with a pair of free throws, but Whitman's two Petersons (not related) hit four times from the charity stripe in the final 30 seconds to seal the victory.
Kelly Peterson finished with 12 points as part of a balanced attack that saw five others score between four and eight points.
Meghan White just missed a double-double with a game-high nine rebounds and eight points. The six-foot sophomore also handed out three assists and blocked two Logger shots, giving her 22 rejections on the season.
Sophomore guard Tiffani Traver added eight points, five rebounds and three assists.
Whitman also got a huge boost from its bench. Sophomore Sarah Anderegg led the charge with nine rebounds and six points.
Hallie Buse, a first-year forward, nailed three of five shots from the floor, one of them a 3-pointer, for seven points. First-year Missionary Heather Lovelace added more muscle inside with four points and three rebounds.
The Loggers shot just 32.2 percent from the floor but canned eight of 23 attempts from the 3-point line to threaten late.
|Whitman's Hallie Buse (left),
Olivia Roberts jumped off the Puget Sound pine to hit all four of her second-half three-point tries. In addition to 12 points from Roberts, the Loggers got 17 points and eight rebounds from Amanda Forshay and 11 points and eight boards from Sarah Stewart.
Whitman never trailed after White opened the scoring with an offensive rebound putback on the first Missionary possession. After the Loggers scored to make it 2-2, Whitman pulled away to lead 20-12 with seven minutes left in the half.
Traver's 3-pointer beat the shot clock for a 35-21 Whitman cushion with 19 seconds left, but Forshay made two free throws to shrink the Logger deficit to 12 points at the break.
Puget Sound made its first run of the second half with seven unanswered points that left Whitman with a 39-35 advantage. But the Missionaries responded with an 11-0 spurt triggered by a Kelly Peterson three.
Jenele Peterson added to the run with a three-point play, hitting a free throw after drawing a foul she drilled a pull-up jumper from the top of the key.
Peterson's 19 points, which ups her career scoring total to 1,136 points, moves the point guard from ninth to seventh on Whitman's all-time scoring list.
Last month in Tacoma, Whitman took this season's first meeting between the two schools 76-68.
Whitman makes its final road trip of the regular season next weekend, playing games in western Oregon at Pacific on Friday and Linfield on Saturday.
The Missionaries then return home to conclude the regular season with games on Tuesday, Feb. 14, against Whitworth and Friday, Feb. 17, against Willamette.
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CONTACT: Dave Holden
Sports Information Director
Whitman College, Walla Walla, Wash.
509 527-5902; firstname.lastname@example.org