FOREST GROVE, Ore. – Whitworth's hopes for a spot in the Northwest Conference women's basketball tournament took a hard hit following a 78-70 loss at Pacific University on Saturday night.
The Pirates rallied from a late 18-point deficit but ran out of time at the end, falling to 10-13 overall and 6-8 in the NWC. Whitworth will have to win twice next week and hope Puget Sound loses twice to tie the Loggers in the standings.
Whitworth got off to a 4-0 start, but the Boxers (12-10, 5-9) quickly turned the tables and jumped out to a 22-7 lead following a 22-3 run. Brittney Anderson scored three baskets in the run for Pacific. The Boxers went up 29-12 on a layup by Paige Jensen before Whitworth rallied to within 39-30 just before halftime on a three-point play by Taylor Taylor. The Pirates trailed 40-30 at the break.
Instead of taking that momentum into the second half, Whitworth quickly fell behind by 17 points once again as the Boxers opened on a 7-0 run keyed by Anderson's three-point play. Pacific led by as many as 19 points (55-36) and still led 74-56 with just over four minutes to play.
Whitworth's rally began with back to back steals and layins by Emily Guthrie and Kendra Knutsen. Taylor's layup with 1:23 left got the Bucs within 74-65 and Lexi Belcher's three pulled Whitworth with 76-70, but only 31 seconds were left in the contest.
Belcher scored a game-high 23 points and led Whitworth with nine rebounds. Kayla Johnson contributed 16 points and Guthrie finished with 14.
Jensen led Pacific with 22 points and 15 rebounds. Erica Schultz scored 17 and Heather Hitch had 15 off of the bench.
Whitworth will play at Whitman on Tuesday night at 6:00 pm in what is a must-win game for the Pirates.