Winstreak boxers broken by Whitman No. 8

WALLA WALLA, wash. – The Pacific University women’s basketball team had broken their seven-game win by the eighth team in the nation when Whitman escaped Tuesday night with the 57-47 win at the Sherwood Athletic Center.

It was a low-scoring affair in eastern Washington as both teams recorded season lows in scoring. The two teams were unable to launch offensively, forcing both sides to slow down and make the most of each possession.

The Boxers (11-4, 5-1 NWC) suffered their first loss in the Northwest Conference game. Unable to find rhythm offensively, Pacific posted their lowest point total (47) and field goal percentage (34%) of the season. The red and black only made three of their 20 shots from the three-point range because they were unable to make their open cans.

No. 8 Whitman (13-1, 5-0 NWC) also recorded a season low in points in what was an extremely defensive and slow affair. The Boxer defense kept the Blues at just 35.7% of the field while forcing 11 turnovers. The hosts were led by Kaylie McCracken who scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds.

Sydney Gray (Junior/Central Point, OR) was fantastic, earning her first double-double of the season. The junior poured in 12 points and grabbed 11 boards while defending very well against Whitman’s talented post players.

Brilie Kovaloff (Junior/Honolulu, HI) led the Boxers on the offensive with 15 points on 6-of-14 shooting. Rilee Price (Junior/Brea, CA) scored nine runs and knocked down one three-pointer.

How it happened

Both teams struggled on the offensive in the first quarter. Each team would make five turnovers and shoot less than 35% from the floor.

However, Camy Aguinaldo (Senior/Honolulu, HI) started early with a three point play to get the Boxers on the board. Gray would follow by hitting a jumper from the free throw line to tie the score at 5-5. The hosts retook the lead before Kovaloff dropped a runner in the paint to re-establish things. Kaylee-Brooke Manuel (Junior/Nanakuli, HI) found some space in the middle of the Blues zone to score her first field goal of the evening. After a low scoring quarter, Whitman would lead 10-9.

The Blues opened the second period with a 7-0 run to extend their lead. Pacific finally ended their scoring drought when Gray hit a deep three-pointer from the wing to get the Boxers back on track. Price got her name on the scoresheet by coming off a screen and taking down a 15-footer before Kovaloff would lay one to bring Pacific within three points. After three minutes, Price scored another basket as the shot clock went down, but Whitman rattled six straight runs to make the score 26-18. Kovaloff added another bucket before halftime and the Boxers would trail 26-20 at the break.

Whitman scored to start the second half, but Kovaloff would respond with a three-point play to give the Boxers some momentum. Price drank a wide open triple before Kovaloff layup in the transition to get himself into double digits and bring Pacific within two. The Boxers got past 30-30 as Gray completed a strong drive to the basket and would later give Pacific their first lead of the game by hitting a three out of the corner. Aguinaldo came back into action by pulling in a layup that gave the Boxers a 35-34 lead in the final 10 minutes. Pacific’s defense was excellent in the third quarter, holding the hosts to just eight points.

Kovaloff started the fourth quarter with an error and two free throws gave them a three-point lead. Manuel would grab an offensive rebound and put it back before Kovaloff poured in another bucket to extend the lead to five points and force a Whitman timeout with 7:48 left in the game. Whitman would bring himself within one point, but Gray would answer with a left-handed layup.

The Blues recaptured the lead at 2:31 and would make a three on their next possession to give it a five-point advantage. This was part of Whitman’s 13-3 run to end the game, as Pacific was unable to close the gap and the eighth team in the nation escaped with the win despite the Boxers’ best efforts.

By the numbers

  • Whitman won the rebounding battle 33-31.
  • The match featured five draws and two managerial changes.
  • Four Boxers (Kovaloff, Gray, Price, Aguinaldo) played over 30 minutes.

Next one

The Boxers look set to begin another winning streak when they head to Tacoma, Wash., at 6 p.m. Jan. going to take on Puget Sound.

For the latest information on Pacific Athletics, visit GoBoxers.com. You can also find the Boxers on social media at @GoBoxers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.

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