Whitworth Tops Santa Cruz on the Road 70-60 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Whitworth Tops Santa Cruz on the Road 70-60

The Pirates improved to 5-3 with their first true road victory of the season. The Pirates improved to 5-3 with their first true road victory of the season.

WhitworthPirates.com

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. – The Whitworth women's basketball team opened the decisive fourth quarter with a 15-3 run on the way to a 70-60 victory at UC Santa Cruz on Saturday night.

The Pirates improved to 5-3 with their first true road victory of the season.  The Banana Slugs dropped to 6-4.

It was another huge night for Whitworth's KC McConnell.  She topped 30 points for the third straight game, finishing with 33 against UCSC.  McConnell added two blocks and three steals on the defensive end as well.

The Pirates led 17-16 after one quarter and 32-28 at halftime.  Whitworth took its largest lead of the first half when Faith Emerson drained a three-pointer with 1:26 to play in the second period, giving the Bucs a 32-26 advantage.  But Michelle Poole hit two free throws to close the margin.

Whitworth went 14-31 (45.2%) in the first half, including 3-12 (25%) from three point range.  The Pirates only got to the free throw line twice, making one.  The Banana Slugs made 10-30 (33%) in the opening half and were also 3-12 from beyond the arc.  UCSC was 5-7 from the free throw line.

Whitworth extended its lead to 38-30 on Callie Harwood's basket early in the third quarter.  But the Banana Slugs fought back to take a 49-48 lead when Jasmin Dimson sank one of two free throws with 1:20 left.  Chloe Quinnett scored to put the Pirates back in the lead and Grace Douglas made 1-2 from the free throw line to give Whitworth a 51-49 lead heading to the final quarter.

Whitworth turned what had been a tight contest into a runaway in the final stanza.  McConnell scored three times and Jessica Thoens scored twice during the game-deciding run over the first 6:20 of the fourth.  By the time McConnell drove for a basket with 3:39 to go the Pirates had taken a 65-51 lead.  The Bucs eventually led by 15 three times in the final two minutes, the last time after Quinnett's jumper gave Whitworth a 70-55 lead with 52 seconds to play.

McConnell was 13-18 from the field, including 1-3 from three-point range.  She made 6-8 from the free throw line and finished just two points short of the career high she set last weekend.  Emerson added 11 points for the Pirates and Quinnett led the team with six rebounds.   Thoens dished a career-high nine assists.  Whitworth went 28-60 (47%) from the field in the game despite shooting only 4-18 (22%) from three-point range. 

Trina Torres scored 12 points to lead UCSC.  The Banana Slugs finished 22-62 (35.5%) from the field in the game, 5-20 (25%) from three-point range.

Whitworth will try to sweep its trip to the California when the Pirates battle Chapman University on Sunday in a game at UCSC.

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