Poets hold on for big win over Whitworth

Ana Youngblood goes up for a lay-up in the Poets 67-62 victory over Whitworth University during the Purple & Gold Poet Classic.
Ana Youngblood goes up for a lay-up in the Poets 67-62 victory over Whitworth University during the Purple & Gold Poet Classic.

Photo by: Tony Leon/ActionWestPhotography.com

WHITTIER, Calif. – The Whittier College Women's Basketball team ended their five game losing skid Thursday afternoon inside of the Graham Athletic Center as they pulled off a big 67-62 win over Whitworth University.

The win moves the Purple & Gold to 2-8, 1-0 SCIAC, while Whitworth drops to 4-5.

Whittier shot lights out in the first half shooting 48% from the field, with 13 points coming from freshman Cali Cubel (Oceanside, Calif.).  After an opening layup by the Pirates, the Poets rattled off nine unanswered with a triple from Emily Underwood (Nicholasville, KY), a jumper from Carly Buechler (Greenwood Village, CO), and lay-ups from Priscilla Rodriguez (East Los Angeles, Calif.) and Jazmyn Sudbrook-Johnson (Fremont, Calif.).

Daniza Rodriguez (San Jose, Calif.) would add a pair of free throws soon after that extended the lead to 11-5 before another pair of back to back tres from Underwood and Cubel would open the game up to double digits.  In the final 2:12, Whittier would again find an offensive spark finishing off the first quarter with a 7-1 run that gave them a 13-point lead.

Cubel came out of the first break firing on all cylinders with another deep strike that pushed the lead to 16  but Whitworth would battle with seven straight that cut into the Poets lead.  Underwood stopped the run with another three ball, while Cubel added a lay-up but again Whitworth would again rally this time adding 11 of the next 14 points that pulled the Pirates within five. 

Trailing by four at the break, the Pirates would come out hot in the third quarter striking first with a three pointer from Grace Douglas that cut the deficit to one.  Callie Harwood would add five straight that kept Whitworth in striking distance before a Jessica Thoens lay-up would turn the momentum back over to the Pirates giving them back the lead, the first since the opening minute of the game.

Rodriguez would thwart the attack with a layup and free throws that again put Whittier in front and Cubel would tack on a layup with a 1:43 to play in the frame that made the score 48-43 heading into the final 10:00.

Ana Youngblood (Berkeley, Calif.) and Cubel combined for a couple free throws and a baseline lay in that pushed the lead back to seven for the Purple & Gold.  Thoens would add three herself that again pulled Whitworth within one at 54-53 but 13 consecutive free throw attempts in the final 6:21 by the Poets would secure the home victory.

Youngblood played big inside and had 12 points and eight boards and was joined by Rodriguez and Underwood who added 11 and 10 points, each respectively.  Emilee Dy (Chino Hills, Calif.) came off the bench and played 21 minutes adding another six points and two steals.

Despite being outrebounded 42-32, the Poets forced 20 turnovers and added 16 points off of them.

Whittier has a day off before returning to Southern California Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SCIAC) play this Saturday on New Year's Eve, December 31 beginning at 5:00pm.