GEORGETOWN, Texas – Junior Bethany Fleming scored a career-high 17 points off the bench to lead the Whitworth women's basketball team to an 84-53 victory over Mary Hardin-Baylor in the Southwestern Tip-Off Tournament in Georgetown, Texas on Saturday. The Pirates improve to 2-0 on the season, while the Crusaders fall to 0-2 overall.
"It was another full team effort tonight," said Whitworth head coach Helen Higgs. "Our starters set the tone early getting a lead. Our bench once again helped up extend the lead."
Mary Hardin-Baylor got on the board first, scoring a layup in the first minute of play. Junior Jamie Lyons answered with a layup of her own and put the Pirates ahead, making the free throw after being fouled on the play. The Crusaders went up by as many as four points on two occasions in the early going but the Pirates never let UMHB get too far ahead. Freshman KC McConnell tied the score 14-14 with 10:54 remaining in the first half and then she made a three-pointer on Whitworth's next possession to give the Pirates a 17-14 lead. Whitworth continued to build its lead and McConnell hit another three-pointer just before halftime to give the Bucs a 17 point lead, their biggest of the half, heading into the locker rooms.
Whitworth continued to build its lead in the second half, despite going 0-for-6 from behind the arc. UMHB cut the lead to 13 less than three minutes into the second half, but the Crusaders were unable to get the lead down to single digits. The Pirates led by as many as 31 points on a pair of free throws from freshman Lexie Zappone.
Whitworth had 13 steals at halftime and finished the game with 21 steals. The Bucs shot 43.1 percent from the field. The Pirates got to the free throw line 29 times, and shot 82.8 percent from the charity stripe.
"As a team we had 21 steals, which off-set us not taking care of the ball as well as we expect to. The Pirates have been popular in Texas because of our style of play," Higgs said.
In addition to Fleming's 17 points, McConnell added a career-high 16 points for Whitworth. Jamie Lyons and Kayla Johnson also scored in double figures for the Bucs, each chipping in 10 points. Fleming led the team in rebounding, grabbing nine boards, while Johnson and junior Kendra Lahue each had six rebounds for Whitworth
Taylor Tucker scored a game-high 20 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the Crusaders. Jovana Miles recorded a double-double with 10 points and a team-high 11 rebounds. Samara Williams had eight points and Katelyn Smith had six boards for Mary Hardin-Baylor.
Next up, Whitworth will play Occidental in Pasadena, Calif. at 1:00 pm PDT on November 23.