Whitman Women's Basketball Tops UPS, Advances To NWC Championship

More news about: Whitman

WALLA WALLA, Wash. - On to the next, as the saying goes. The Whitman College women's basketball team rode the back of their twin towers, specifically Makana Stone's 22 points and 11 rebounds to notch its first win this season over the University of Puget Sound in the semifinals of the Northwest Conference Tournament, Thursday night at the Sherwood Center.

A sigh of relief and smiles of excitement were evident on the faces of a team that had been on the losing end of both their UPS matchups this season. Stone played 34 minutes in grinding out her double double while Martin scored 10 points and grabbed three rebounds. The second-seeded Blues now travel to George Fox to take on the top-seeded Bruins with the NWC title and the league's NCAA automatic qualifier on the line. Tipoff is set for Saturday, Feb. 21 at 7:00 p.m.

Neither team held a significant shooting advantage, 42% to 40% for Whitman, but it were the Blues who were able to effectively stretch the Logger defense with effective enough outside shooting. Mady Burdett, after a slow start, finished with 14 points, nine coming from the free throw line with Taylor Chambers adding four points and dishing out a game-high seven assists.

UPS had a 1-2 punch of their own tonight. Jamie Lange delivered a team-high 18 points to go along with 11 rebounds, with teammate Elizabeth Prewitt adding 17 points, six rebounds and a pair of steals.

Prewitt was active early and doing most of the heavy lifting for the Loggers in the first quarter. She had a pair of early buckets to put her team up 8-4, also able to take advantage of her teammates attacking the offensive glass to help give her easy looks just outside the paint. Kaylie McCracken drained a three pointer to put her team up 11-10 but the Loggers, led by Lange's buckett at the end of the period, carried a 14-11 lead into the second quarter

Stone connected on an elbow jumper to cut the lead to 16-13 to start the second quarter. She began to find her groove, hitting again to cut the Logger lead to three points. With Stone and Prewitt providing the offense in large part for both teams, Natalie Whitesel came in off the bench and nailed a three pointer with 6:55 to play until halftime.

Play would remain tight with the Blues building a slim lead as the second half neared its close. Prewitt would again showcase her offense down the first-half stretch, tying the game on a layup and sending the two teams to the locker room deadlocked at 26-26.

The second half saw the Blues get off to a good start. Early layups from Martin followed by a straight away three pointer from Burdett helped Whitman to a 35-30 lead. Whitman continued to distance itself, leading by eight on several occasions in the quarter. The period ended on a McCracken flurry who nailed a three pointer then blocked Lange's jumper as time expired to give the Blues a 50-42 lead heading to the fourth

While the two teams played each other even in the final period, the eight-point cushion built by the Blues after halftime proved to be the difference. Consecutive jumpers from Stone put her team up 60-47 with 5:38 to play. Prewitt's layup with just over two minutes to play made it a five-point game, but the Blues were cool down the stretch, hitting from the charity stripe and sending themselves to the NWC title game.