Women’s basketball clinches regular season title with PLU win
PARK, Wash. – Kaylie McCracken scored 18 points and grabbed nine rebounds and the No. 6 Whitman College women’s basketball team went from an 11-point fourth-quarter deficit to lead Pacific Lutheran 73-70 in action from the Northwest Conference on Saturday night.
The victory seals the regular season title for the Blues (22-1, 14-0 NWC) and the No. 1 seed in the Northwest Conference tournament later this month. Whitman is three games ahead in the Puget Sound and Pacific losing column with just two games remaining.
Josie Napoli led all the Lutes scorers who came close to winning. Napoli scored 22 points and provided 10 assists for a double double. Ava Edmonds added 14 points and seven rebounds.
Securing their second straight NWC regular season title didn’t come easy for the Blues who found themselves in double digits early in the fourth. Edmonds found Kasidy Javernick on a counterattack that netted a three-pointer to put the Lutes ahead 64-53 with 1:03 left in the third quarter, a lead that held before the fourth.
Whitman quickly erased the deficit with a 12-0 run to start the fourth quarter. Taylor Chambers kicked off the flurry with a layup and later Elena McHargue drilled a three-pointer to put the Blues up 68-67 with 4:50 left.
Mady Simmelink responded with her own three-pointer to regain the PLU lead, but McCracken responded with back-to-back buckets to put Whitman ahead 72-70 with 1:35 remaining. With less than a minute to play, the Lutes had two out of three looks but couldn’t knock down the shots as the Blues came away with the three-point victory.
Korin Baker added 12 points with Sydney Abbott chipping 10 points and six rebounds.
The Blues are now looking to keep up the momentum and a possible hosting opportunity in the NCAA Tournament when they close out the season at home next weekend against Lewis & Clark and George Fox.