Tacoma, WA – The Missionaries grinded out an important road win tonight at Pacific Lutheran, downing the Lutes 64 – 57 and improving their conference record to 7 – 2, giving them a share of second place with George Fox who fell to Lewis & Clark tonight. For full NWC standings click Standings.
Whitman is, now, 14 – 3 on the season and winners of three-in-a-row. The loss drops the Lutes to 3 – 6 in the NWC and 6 – 10 overall.
The Missionaries got 17 points from guard Tiffani Traver (Jr, Oregon City, OR), 15 from point-guard Heather Johns (So, W. Richland, WA) along with 5 assists and 3 steals, and Junior post Meghan White (Huntington Beach, CA) powered the Whits on the boards with 9 rebounds and added 10 points.
PLU was led in scoring by post Samantha Potter who poured in a game-high 20 along with 5 rebounds.
Whitman led most of the first half until the Lutes scored on Potter layup to make it 15 – 14 with 7:06 remaining. The teams traded buckets before Traver hit two jumpers in-a-row before halftime, a three-pointer from the wing and a deuce just inside the line, to give the Whits a 24 – 21 lead at intermission.
The Missionaries opened the second stanza strongly, scoring the first 5 points on a White layin and a long trey from Traver to make it 29 – 21 with less than three minutes gone off the clock. Whitman would eventually garner its largest margin of the game – 10 points – when Johns drove to the hoop to make it 37 – 27 with 14:20 left to play.
The Lutes would not go away, though, as Potter scored six points during a 9 – 4 run that tied the game 43 – 43 when Sarah Barnes sank a three-ball from the wing. But the Missionaries weathered the spurt and responded with five-straight points to reclaim the lead for good, thanks to a Hailey Ann Maeda (So, Kailua, HI) layup and a coast-to-coast drive by Johns that turned into a three-point play as she was fouled on her way up.
A Traver layin off a Johns assist made it 60 – 52 with 1:30 left. The Lutes drew to within six but both Traver and Johns sank a pair of free-throws to put the game out of reach, giving the Whits a season sweep of PLU.
After the game, Whitman Head Coach, Michelle Ferenz said," PLU played very well. They were much better defensively and we didn't handle it very well. We will need to execute much better than we did tonight against UPS."
Ferenz added, "Tiffani Traver played very well. She was very good offensively. Heather Johns and Meghan white also gave great efforts. "
Whitman continues its road trip tomorrow when it visits Puget Sound for a 4 pm tip-off.