Higgs Nets 350th Career Win at Whitworth as Pirates Top Linfield - SWX Right Now-Sports for Spokane, CdA, Tri-Cities, WA

Higgs Nets 350th Career Win at Whitworth as Pirates Top Linfield

Pirate head coach Helen Higgs earned her 350th career victory on Friday. Pirate head coach Helen Higgs earned her 350th career victory on Friday.

by Whitworth Athletics

McMINNVILLE, Ore. - Jessica Thoens scored a career-high 25 points to lead visiting Whitworth to an 86-76 win at Linfield on Friday night, giving Pirate head coach Helen Higgs her 350th career victory.

Whitworth swept the season series from the Wildcats and improved to 9-11 overall and 5-6 in the Northwest Conference.  The Wildcats dropped to 9-11, 3-8 as the Bucs earned their first NWC road win of the season.

The Pirates took the initiative in the opening quarter, jumping to a 17-8 lead on a basket by Erika Kuehn.  But Linfield rallied to within 20-16 at the end of the quarter.  Thoens had seven points in the opening period.

Linfield continued to chip away in the second period and eventually tied the game 40-40 at the break.  The Wildcats took their first lead of the game when Paige Graham scored to give Linfield a 36-35 advantage.  

Grace Douglas hit a jumper to give Whitworth a 51-47 lead just over halfway through the third quarter.  But then Linfield went on an 8-0 run, going up 55-51 on a basket by Audrey McMillan.  The Wildcats eventually led 61-58 after three quarters.

It looked like Higgs' 350th win would have to wait at least one more night after Linfield opened the final quarter by increasing its lead to 66-59 with 8:40 to play in the game.  

Whitworth still trailed 61-57 with just under six minutes to play when the Pirates ran off an 11-0 run to take over the momentum.  Douglas scored to tie the game 71-71 and Madison Moffat followed with a three-pointer that gave the Bucs a lead they would never relinquish.  After Linfield got back within 78-74 with just over a minute to play, Douglas iced the game with a three-pointer on the Pirates' next possession.

Thoens surpassed her previous career high of 18 points by making 8-11 shots from the floor, including 3-3 from three-point range.  She went 6-8 at the free throw line, including three freebies in the final 20 seconds.  Douglas added 18 points and Moffat scored a dozen.  Whitworth shot 48% (29-60) from the field, 50% (6-12) from beyond the arc.  

Graham scored 17 points off of the bench to lead the Wildcats.  McMillan added 12 points and Riley Graham finished with ten.  Linfield shot 45% (26-58) from the field and 46% (6-13) from three-point range.

Higgs, who became the first coach in Northwest Conference history to reach 300 career victories, is now 350-234 in her 23rd season leading the Pirates.

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