by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – After snapping a four-game losing streak with a blowout win, the Whitworth Pirates are back on the road this weekend to begin the second half of Northwest Conference play.
The Pirates open the weekend in Forest Grove, Ore., where they take on Pacific at 6 p.m. on Friday, January 25. Whitworth takes on Willamette the following day at 4 p.m.
Live video and statistics links for both games are available on the Whitworth women's basketball schedule.
The Pirates: Whitworth (9-8, 4-4 NWC) started last weekend with a tough loss to Puget Sound, but bounced back with a big win over Pacific Lutheran.
The Pirates overcame a 15-point deficit in the opening game of the weekend, but the Bucs couldn't quite put Puget Sound away in a 59-54 loss. The Loggers jumped out to a 22-7 lead in the first quarter, which Whitworth erased in the second and third quarters. The Bucs entered the fourth quarter with a 42-38 lead, but the Loggers tied the game at 50 before making a 6-0 run to earn the win. Madison Abbott played a big role in the comeback, including scoring the go-ahead basket, and finished with 9 points, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals. Sydney Abbott led the Pirates with 11 points, 4 rebounds, and 4 steals.
Whitworth bounced back the following day and led for the final 31 minutes of an 81-57 win over Pacific Lutheran. Though the Lutes jumped out to an early lead, the Pirates took a three-point advantage into the second quarter and then put the game away with a 19-6 run. Talia Brandner made 7 of her 8 shots and scored 19 points off the bench. Camy Aguinaldo and Sydney Abbott joined Brandner in double figures with 10 points apiece.
The Opponents: Pacific (7-10, 1-7 NWC) snapped a six-game losing streak Saturday with a 62-56 victory over Lewis & Clark. The Boxers played every team tough during the losing streak, dropping all of the conference games by seven points or fewer. Five Bucs scored in double figures, led by Jordan Smith's 15 points, when the Pirates and Boxers last squared off. Whitworth defeated Pacific 69-53.
In order to pick up another win, the Pirates will have to keep close tabs on Liana Tanaka and Courtney Carolan, Pacific's leading scorers. The duo combines for 29.2 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 5.8 assists per game. Whitworth may be able to take advantage of an edge on the boards as well. Despite having one of the top rebounders in the conference in Charli Elliot (9.1 rebounds/game), the Boxers are last in the NWC with 31.1 rebounds per game.
Willamette (7-10, 2-6 NWC) is coming off a split weekend against Lewis & Clark and George Fox. The Bearcats took down the Pios 69-62, but fell 75-49 to the Bruins. Last time the Bucs and Bearcats played, Whitworth won 74-69. Smith dropped in 24 points and shot 9-18 from the field in the win. Camy Aguinaldo (13 points) and Madison Moffat (10 points) joined Smith in double figures.
Britanny Kochenderfer leads the Bearcats in both scoring and rebounding. The senior guard drops in 14.6 points per game and pulls down an NWC-best 11.6 rebounds per game. Drew Farmer is the Bearcats' floor general. The junior averages 6.4 points and 4.1 assists per game. Willamette has struggled to score this season and sits in eighth place in the NWC with just 56.7 points per game.
All-Conference Camy: Sophomore point guard Camy Aguinaldo established herself as one of the best point guards in the Northwest Conference on the way to an NWC Freshman of the Year award last year. This season Aguinaldo is making an impact all over the court once again with a team-leading 12.5 points and 3.3 assists 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. Moffat is continuing to stuff the stat sheet this season with 8.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 2.9 assists, and 1.8 steals per game.
She Shoots, She Scores: When Megan Dorney shoots, odds are high that the ball is headed to the bottom of the net. The freshman post is Whitworth's second-leading scorer (8.8 points/game) thanks to shooting 52.8% from the floor, which is the second-best percentage in the NWC.
Easy as 1-2-3: Talia Brandner has been one of Whitworth's best shooters from all over the court this season. The freshman combo guard shoots 87.5% from the free throw line, 50.5% from the floor, and 42.9% from three (3rd in the NWC).
On the Air Again: Whitworth's Northwest Conference games are once again carried live in Spokane this season on KSBN 1230am. The relationship between Pirate athletics and KSBN goes back to 1994, a span of 24 years. Bud Nameck is in his third 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.
One More SWX TV Game: The Pirates' February 8th NWC doubleheader with Linfield will be televised locally on cable station SWX. Owned by local NBC affiliate KHQ (channel 6), SWX stands for Sports & Weather Right Now. SWX can be seen both over-the-air and through some cable services in the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene, Kennewick-Pasco-Richland, and Yakima viewership areas. In the Spokane-Coeur d'Alene area, SWX is found on digital channel 6.2, on Comcast channel 112 in Spokane and Time Warner channel 306 in North Idaho.
Looking Ahead: The Bucs get two days off before traveling to Walla Walla, Wash. on Tuesday, January 29 to take on Whitman. They return home to play Lewis & Clark on Saturday, February 2.
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 2