Whitman’s early lead was built on being quicker to the ball and ultimately it was too much for the Puget Sound Loggers women to overcome.
The Blues were quicker to loose balls and more assertive on the boards, but the Loggers’ relentless fourth-quarter comeback yielded three chances to tie the game late. Whitman would hold on for the wire-to-wire 69-67 victory over UPS that earned the Blues a spot in the NCAA Division III round of 16.
The Loggers, who trailed by 13 at halftime and again by 13 after the third quarter, had the ball trailing by three points twice with a minute remaining in the game, but couldn’t make a 3-pointer. UPS, the regular-season Northwest Conference champion, finished its season at 26-3.
Loggers guard Samone Jackson was fouled in the act of shooting a 3-pointer just before the final buzzer, but after making the first of three free throws, she missed the second, ending the threat.
UPS post Jamie Lange, who scored 17 of her game-high 22 points in the second half including eight points in the fourth quarter, was the spark behind the comeback.
Elizabeth Prewitt and Alexis Noren’s 3-pointers in the fourth quarter were key for the Loggers, but overall were 4-of-22 from beyond the arc. Whitman, after going 5-for-11 from long range in the first half, finished 6-for-16 in 3-pointers.
These teams know each other well. The Loggers earned two overtime wins over the Blues during the regular season before Whitman beat UPS 81-72 in the Northwest Conference championship game last weekend.
The Loggers dug a hole early as the Blues were the more aggressive unit. The second of two quick-release 3-pointers by Whitman freshman Mady Burdett earned the Blues an 18-8 lead after one quarter. UPS was 3-of-14 shooting from the field in the period.
The Whitman lead grew to 37-19 at the 4:10 mark of the second quarter on a jumper in the lane by Maegen Martin. The Loggers outscored the Blues 7-2 to finish out the half with Whitman up 39-26 at the break.
Lange scored nine points in the third quarter and her two free throws got the Loggers to within seven points at 48-41, but Martin scored four of her team-high 16 points in a 6-0 Whitman run to get the margin back to 13 points.
Whitman 18 21 15 14 69
Puget Sound 8 18 15 26 67
W: Stone 4, Rommel 11, Poe 7, Brewer 14, Ketner 8, Burdett 9, Martin 16, Whitesel.
UPS: Prewitt 10, Lange 22, Noren 14, Malvar 2, Jackson 10, Limper 2, Allen 0, Fitzgerald 5, Olson 2.