No. 2 George Fox Holds Off Whitworth, 65-57 - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

No. 2 George Fox Holds Off Whitworth, 65-57

by Whitworth Athletics

SPOKANE, Wash. - The Whitworth women's basketball team battled No. 2 and unbeaten George Fox in a tight contest for the second time this season before the Bruins pulled away late to earn a 65-57 win on Friday evening at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

George Fox (22-0, 13-0 Northwest Conference) completed a regular-season sweep of Whitworth (13-9, 8-5). The Pirates played the Bruins tough in Oregon earlier this season but fell, 82-72. Despite the loss on Friday, the Pirates need one win over the final three regular season contests to clinch a conference tournament berth.

The Bruin defense buckled down late to keep the unbeaten season intact. A tightly-contested game featured 13 ties and seven lead changes, with the final tie coming at the 5:51 mark in the fourth quarter when Callie Harwood made two free throws to knot the score at 50-50. The Bruins' defense asserted itself during crunch time, as backcourt pressure resulted in three consecutive turnovers following Harwood's points and quickly turned a tie game into a 55-50 George Fox advantage.

Whitworth answered to come within 55-52 on a Madison Moffat layup with 3:21 to go before George Fox responded to build a 59-53 lead with 1:26 remaining.

KC McConnell made a layup to bring Whitworth within 60-57 with 21 seconds left, but George Fox went 5 of 6 at the line from that point forward to seal the win.

Despite the back-and-forth nature of the game, George Fox never allowed Whitworth to take the lead after halftime. The Pirates tied the game once in the third quarter at 32-32, but the Bruins answered with a 3-pointer and held an advantage for the remainder of the quarter. Whitworth fought to tie the game on two occasions during the fourth quarter. The Pirates came within a point of the Bruins five times during the third and fourth quarters, in addition to the three ties.

Faith Emerson helped pace Whitworth during the first and second quarters, scoring 12 of her game-high 18 points before halftime. The first half featured 10 ties and neither team led by more than four points. Tied at 22-22 with 2:35 to play in the second quarter, George Fox closed the half with a 6-2 spurt for a 28-24 halftime lead.

In addition to Emerson's performance, McConnell added 14 points and nine rebounds. Harwood contributed 13 points.

A balanced George Fox offense resulted with four Bruins finishing in double figures. Kim Frost led the Bruins with 15 points and Sammy Naluai added 14. Justine Benner scored 12 points and Nicole Blizzard contributed 10.

George Fox shot 46% from the floor as a team, but was just 16 of 27 from the free-throw line (59.3%). The Pirates shot 37.3% from the field and made 12 of 14 free throws (85.7%).

Whitworth returns to action Saturday night, hosting Willamette at 4 p.m. It will be Senior Night for the Pirates and the senior class of six student-athletes will be honored prior to the start of the game.

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