Poets pressure too much for Boxers in 67-63 win

Poets pressure too much for Boxers in 67-63 win

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – Despite a long week of finals and studying, the Whittier College Women's Basketball team came out and pressured the Boxers from Pacific University Friday night in the Graham Athletic Center en route to the 67-63 victory.

The win snaps a two game losing skid and moves the Purple & Gold to 2-4 in non-conference play and into a tie for fifth place in the Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) Standings. 

It was a close game throughout with eight ties and seven lead changes with the largest lead being eight, which was held by Whittier at the beginning of the second quarter.

After taking a 20-14 lead following the first ten minutes, Whittier's Amia Thrash (Eastvale, Calif.) would extend the WC lead to eight with a lay-in to start off the scoring in the second.  But that lead would soon diminish as the Boxers' Nikki Gilbert, Kyla Siri, and Karli McHone would knock down back to back to back triples that put Pacific in front 25-23.

The Boxers would get in front by four 29-25 with 4:25 to play in the first half but the Poets would answer with Ana Youngblood (Berkeley, Calif.) converting two lay-ups that pulled the game even before a Sarah Curl lay-up would give PU a two point lead 31-29 at the break.

In the third quarter the game remained deadlocked with Whittier shooting 42.1% from the field, while Pacific had a 41.7% clip.  Thrash would add in another seven during the frame, which included the Poets last five points but what proved crucial was the start where the Poets went on a 6-2 run that helped them regain the lead 35-33 capped off with junior point guard Priscilla Rodriguez (East Los Angeles, Calif.) laying in a pair.

Entering the fourth the game was again tied up at 47-47.  The Boxers managed to go ahead 56-52 following a trey from Gilbert but that's when the Poets rallied with an ensuing 8-0 run sparked by Youngblood who had a free throw and two lay-ups coupled with a triple from junior Carly Buechler (Denver, CO) that put Whittier in front 60-56. 

This lead they would hold despite Pacific pulling within a point on three different occasions, coming on a Gilbert three, and a McHone trey and free throw.  But down the stretch the Poets forced big turnovers when they needed them, allowing them to hold on for the four point victory.

Four Poets recorded double digit scoring efforts with Thrash pouring in 16 points off the bench to go with three boards, four assists, and three steals.  Youngblood recorded yet another double double with 12 points and 11 boards, Rodriguez had 11 points, five rebounds, and five assists, and Buechler finished with 10 points going 3-of-7 from behind the arc to go with six rebounds, an assist, and two steals. 

Whittier has a quick turnaround as they host Willamette tomorrow afternoon, Saturday, December 19 beginning at 4:00pm.