by Andrew Goodwin, Sports Information Assistant
SPOKANE, Wash. – Linfield pulled away late to defeat Whitworth 80-72, putting the Wildcats in the driver's seat for the final spot in the Northwest Conference tournament with three games to go.
Kory Oleson scored 15 of her game-high 25 points in the fourth quarter and Molly Danielson added 21 points with 14 rebounds. Jordyn Feinauer contributed another 17 points for Linfield (11-11, 7-6 NWC) on 5-9 shooting from three.
Whitworth looked to be in control early in the contest, responding to Linfield's game-opening layup with a 7-0 run. Jordan Smith opened the run with a three-pointer, which the Bucs followed with free throws from Aguinaldo and a basket inside from Courtney Gray.
The Pirates extended the lead out to 28-18 early in the second quarter, but Linfield responded with a 14-0 run to take a 32-28 lead. Danielson scored six points in the run and Feinauer added two more three-pointers. Aguinaldo evened out the momentum at the end of the half with a buzzer-beating three-pointer that knotted the game at 34.
Niether team could pull ahead by more than a basket until a 6-0 Whitworth run midway through the third quarter. Moffat grabbed an offensive board and second chance basket to open the run, which Megan Dorney finished with a mid-range jumper.
Linfield re-took the lead with a 17-4 run that opened the fourth quarter. As with the Wildcats 14-0 run in the first half, Feinauer nailed two shots from beyond the arc during the run, which left Linfield with a 67-59 lead.
Aguinaldo led Whitworth's short comeback by draining back-to-back three-pointers to pull the Bucs within two. The sophomore's first trey came off an assist from Madison Abbott and the second was a step-back off a screen. Aguinaldo attempted a heat-check for the lead, but the basket fell short.
Oleson took over the final 2:17 to carry the Wildcats to the win. The junior post scored 10 of Linfield's final 11 points as the Wildcats stretched the lead out to the eight-point final margin.
Linfield shot 43.9% (29-66) from the floor and 31.3% (5-16) from three. Whitworth made 39.2% (29-74) of its shots and 33.3% (7-21) from downtown.
The Pirates outrebounded the Wildcats 49-41, but Linfield wasn't deterred by Whitworth's press and turned the ball over just 13 times. The Pirates finished with 17 turnovers.
Whitworth hosts #13 George Fox for Senior Night on Saturday, February 9. Tip-off is at 4 p.m. with the senior ceremony taking place beforehand.