by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – Whitworth's fourth quarter comeback fell short in the final minutes and the Pirates fell 89-78 to Whitman on Tuesday evening.
The Pirates (10-10, 5-6 NWC) trailed by 18 points in the third quarter but pulled back within 5 with a minute remaining. The Blues (16-4, 10-1 NWC) made all eight of their free throws and forced a Whitworth turnover in the final minute to come away with the win.
Taylor Chambers led five Blues in double figures with 18 points and 5 assists. Camy Aguinaldo scored a game-high 19 points for the Pirates.
The Pirates dictated the style of play in the first quarter, using a press defense and high-speed offense to take a 25-20 lead. Though the Blues jumped out to a 10-3 advantage, Whitworth responded with a 9-2 run led by play of Aguinaldo. The sophomore scored four points in the run and played a key role in the Bucs' press.
After back-and-forth play left the Whitman with an 18-17 lead, Talia Brandner and Lexi Tinney hit back-to-back threes from the left wing to give the Bucs a 25-20 advantage. The Blues responded with 11 straight points to take a 31-25 lead. Whitman's first three-pointer of the game, a wide-open shot from junior guard Mady Burdett, closed the run.
Whitman extended its lead out to 40-31 late in the second quarter, but Whitworth closed the gap to 42-37 with a jumper from Brandner. The Bucs trailed 43-37 at halftime.
The Blues pulled away with 5:05 remaining in the third quarter. Kaylie McCracken sparked a 14-2 run with five straight points, including an open three from the right wing. The run extended Whitman's lead out to 18 points.
Whitworth refused to go away in the fourth quarter. The Bucs opened the period on a 14-4 run to cut the deficit to 6 points. Brandner and Aguinaldo combined for 10 of the Pirates' points on the run as each made a layup and drained a three. Later in the quarter Aguinaldo made two free throws to cut the Blues' lead to 81-76 before Whitman pulled away at the charity stripe.
The Pirates shot 42.9% (27-63) from the floor and a season-high 52.6% (10-19) from three. Whitman made 51.7% of its shots (31-60) and 33.3% (6-18) of its three-pointers.
Maegen Martin (16 points), Kaelin Shamseldin (15), Burdett (13), and Natalie Whitesel (12) joined Chambers in double figures. Martin also pulled down a team-high seven rebounds.
The Pirates return to the Whitworth Fieldhouse on Saturday, February 2 when they take on Lewis & Clark at 4 p.m.