by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – The Whitworth Pirates will open their season this weekend when they host Montana Tech and Texas-Tyler for the Whit Classic in the Whitworth Fieldhouse.
The Bucs open 2018-19 campaign against the Orediggers at 7:00 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 16 before taking on the Patriots at 7:00 p.m. the following day. Both Montana Tech and Texas-Tyler will also take on Whitman College in games tipping off at 5:00 p.m. in the Fieldhouse
Live video and statistics links will be available on the Whitworth women's basketball schedule.
The Pirates: Whitworth will open its season with seven new student-athletes and a new head coach, in addition to eight returners. New head coach Joial Griffith expects the Pirates to be tough defensively in her inaugural year at the helm and to use that defense to fuel the Bucs' offense. Whitworth returns two All-NWC players from last season, double-double machine Madison Moffat and Freshman of the Year Camy Aguinaldo.
The Opponents: Montana Tech (5-1) opened its season with three straight victories before being tripped up by The Master's University for their first loss of the year. After their loss to Masters, the Orediggers bounced back with wins over Northwest Indian College and the College of Idaho. Montana Tech went 15-16 overall and 4-14 in the NAIA's Frontier Conference during the 2017-18 season. This year, Kaylee Zord leads the offensive attack with 15.6 points per game and 8.2 rebounds.
Texas-Tyler (0-1) started its season with a trip to Austin, Texas for its first game of the year and dropped it 71-60 to Huston Tillotson. The Patriots finished the 2017-18 campaign 18-9 overall and 13-5 in the American Southwest Conference, resulting in a third place finish in the ASC East. The Patriots return third-leading scorer Carissa Spiker (11.2 points/game) and fifth-leading scorer Bianca Valderamma (8.7 points/game). The Patriots defeated Whitworth 91-63 at home last season.
All-Conference Camy: Freshman point guard Camy Aguinaldo established herself as one of the best facilitators in the Northwest Conference on the way to an NWC Freshman of the Year award last year. Aguinaldo's 5.3 assists per game led the NWC and were 20th-best in the nation, and she also led the team in scoring with 15.5 points per game.
High Motor Madi: Madison Moffat has been one of the best hustle players in the Northwest Conference, and placed in the top-five of the NWC in rebounds, steals and minutes last year The junior wing's 10.5 rebounds per game were second-best in the conference and her 2.4 steals per game were third-best. She led the NWC in minutes per game with 34.45.
Good Things Come in Threes: Whitworth was the best three-point shooting team in the Northwest Conference last season, making 35.1% of their shots behind the three-point line. The Pirates made the 19th-most threes in the country last year, 7.9 per game.
The Best Price is Free: The Pirates made opposing teams pay for sending them to the free-throw line last season. Whitworth made a conference-leading 73.7% of its shots from the charity stripe.
On the Air Again: Whitworth's games are once again carried live this season on KSBN 1230am in Spokane. The relationship between Pirate athletics and KSBN goes back to 1994, a span of 24 years. Bud Nameck is in his second season as the voice of Whitworth basketball. The co-host of 920 KXLY radio's Morning News, Nameck has more than 30 years of experience calling college basketball at Gonzaga University and Washington State.
Looking Ahead: The Pirates take on Walla Walla University at home on Tuesday, Nov. 20 before playing host to McMurray on Sunday, Nov. 25.
The Coach: Joial Griffith, a former assistant coach at Williams College (Mass.), begins her first season as the head women's basketball coach at Whitworth University in 2018-19. Prior to her year at Williams, Griffith was the assistant coach at Claremont-Scripps-Colleges in Southern California, near where she grew up. The Athenas made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances during her two seasons, finishing 20-9 in 2017 and 23-6 in 2016.