PORTLAND, Ore. -- The Lady Missionaries upset the No. 13 ranked Lewis & Clark Pioneers for the second time on their home court this season 66 - 57, tonight, to advance to the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Division III Tournament -- the deepest any Whitman basketball team has journeyed in the NCAA postseason since the school became a Division III member in 1996.
The Whits (22 - 5), now, head to the Regional Semi-finals -- opponent and site yet to be determined -- after their two wins in the Big Dance this weekend -- knocking off Cal Lutheran last night 61 - 37 (the program's first NCAA Tournament appearance and victory).
"I am so excited for this particular team", said head coach Michelle Ferenz after the victory. "They have worked so hard. We play in such a great conference and we have knocked on the door of being in the tournament so many times and now that we have the opportunity, we are making the most of it."
One of those players who has been on the door step, senior forward Mary Madden, scored all of her 10 points in the second half, including 9 straight late in the second stanza, as Whitman held off the Pioneers who made several runs after the Missionaries led at halftime by six.
Whitman was led in scoring by junior post Sarah Anderegg, who also sank several key baskets to stem Pioneer threats late in the game, with 18 (6 - 10 from the field and 6 - 6 from the line). Meghan White added 12 with 7 rebounds, and Heather Johns 11 with 8 boards and 6 assists.
Northwest Conference Player of the Year, Kristina Williams finished with a game-high 27 for L & C (6 of 9 on threes and 9 of 16 from the field). Katie Anderson poured in 11 for the Pioneers and Casey Zinn put in 9.
After the Whits led at halftime 28 - 22, L & C stormed back to tie the game at 36 - all with less than 6 minutes gone in the 2nd half when Williams hit three straight treys. The teams traded baskets and were tied at 40 before Reese DeHart converted a layup and Tayler Wang hit two free throws to give the Pioneers a 44 - 41 lead and the momentum with just under ten minutes to play. But Anderegg hit a mid-range jumper, Tiffani Traver made a baseline layup and Anderregg, on the next trip, hit a pair of free throws and the Missionaries were back in the lead 47 - 46. Anderegg drilled another mid-range jumper to make it 49 - 46 with 6:23 showing on the clock.
Then Madden went on her solo mini-run, starting with a layup on a perfect feed from Johns and capping it with a three-ball from the corner that pushed the Whitman lead back out to 58 - 53 at the 2:14 mark, after an Anderson bucket had cut the lead to two. Johns converted two from the charity stripe to make it 60 - 53 with 1:43 remaining and the Pioneers could get no closer than four.
"I'm really proud of how well our kids responded,",said Ferenz. "They answered every run the Pioneers made. They just continue to amaze me."
The Missionaries closed out the game by hitting 5 of their last 6 from the line -- Anderegg and Johns each hitting a pair. Whitman shot 81 % (17 - 21) from the line.
Where and whom the Missionaries will play, will be determined over the weekend by the tournament committee. Check back to the Whitman Athletics website for the announcement.
Whitman Sports Information Director