Bucs Host Walla Walla, McMurry for Thanksgiving

Bucs Host Walla Walla, McMurry for Thanksgiving

by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant 

SPOKANE, Wash. – After picking up their first win of the year last weekend, the Whitworth Pirates will look to continue their strong play in a pair of games that bookend the university's Thanksgiving break. 

The Pirates take on Walla Walla University at 7:00 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20. After taking a couple of days off to celebrate Thanksgiving, Whitworth is back on the floor on Sunday, Nov. 25 to battle McMurry University at 1:00 p.m.

Live video and statistics links will be available on the Whitworth women's basketball schedule.

The Pirates: Whitworth (1-1) opened the 2018-19 season with a 68-52 loss to Montana Tech before bouncing back with a 74-70 victory over Texas-Tyler the following day. In the season-opener the Bucs hung with the Orediggers for the first half and trailed by just five points at halftime. Montana Tech pulled away after the break, outrebounding the Bucs 24-17 in the second half on the way to a double-digit win. Megan Dorney led Whitworth with 16 points and 9 rebounds in the loss 

A balanced attack and a solid defensive effort gave the Bucs a bounce-back win in their second game of the Whit Classic. Whitworth held Texas-Tyler to 38 percent shooting overall and just 17 percent from three while shooting 47 percent from the floor and 32 percent from three themselves in the win. Jordan Smith keyed the Pirates' offense in the first half with 15 points and Dorney led the way in the second half with 12. Madison Moffat provided 13 points and 7 rebounds in the win and Camy Aguinaldo led the team with 6 assists.

The Opponents:  Walla Walla (1-5) enters its matchup with the Pirates on a two game losing streak against Northwest Conference opponents. Whitman dominated the Wolves 107-33 in a cross-town matchup and Linfield defeated Walla Walla 77-49 on Sunday. The Wolves went 3-22 in 2017-18, including an 0-1 record against NWC opponents. Two Wolves are currently averaging double-figure scoring. Jaqueline Saucedo leads Walla Walla with 21 points and 4.5 rebounds per game, and Aaliyah Anderson adds 12.7 points per game. 

McMurry (0-2) opened its season with a pair of lopsided losses to East Texas Baptist (86-52) and Houston Baptist (92-41), as well as a defeat to NCAA Division I Lamar. The War Hawks finished last season with a 13-12 overall record and an 11-6 mark in the American Southwest Conference, but lost two of their top three scorers from the 2017-18 campaign. Skyler Reyna, McMurry's leading scorer last season, does return and leads the team again this year with 11 points per game. Reyna also leads the War Hawks with 8.5 rebounds per game. In addition to matching up with the Pirates, McMurry will square off with Whitman in the Whitworth Fieldhouse on Saturday, Nov. 24 at 7:00 p.m. 

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 percent of its shots from the charity stripe in 2017-18. Early in the 2018-19 campaign, the Bucs have made 70 percent of their free throws. 

On the Air Again: Whitworth's Northwest Conference 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 open the Northwest Conference season Nov. 30 and Dec. 1 in matchups with Willamette and Pacific (Ore.) at home. 

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.