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   Whitman College sophomore Makana Stone earned First-Team All-Northwest Conference honors when league coaches voted. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

She’s a bright, shining star.

Coupeville grad Makana Stone, a two-time Olympic League basketball MVP during her high school days, continues to soar on the college hardwood.

Tuesday she was named a First-Team All-Northwest Conference player when league coaches tallied up their votes.

Stone, a sophomore at Whitman College, joins senior Casey Poe, who was honored as the league’s Player of the Year.

It’s the third time in five seasons that the Whitman women have claimed the top honor, after Heather Johns won for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 campaigns.

Poe, who is first in the league in free-throw percentage, second in scoring, third in blocks, fourth in assists and sixth in steals, was also an All-Conference pick as a junior.

Stone, who became a full-time starter midway through her freshman season, has been a beast in her second year in Walla Walla.

The former Wolf leads the Blues in rebounding and is second in scoring.

She is fourth in the NWC in field goal percentage, fifth in rebounding and 10th in scoring.

Stone was tabbed as the NWC student/athlete of the week twice this season, and copped MVP honors at the Whitworth Holiday Classic.

She was also named to the All-Tournament team at the Ramada at the Spokane Airport Whit Classic.

Joining Stone as First-Team picks are Kylie Towry (Willamette), Miyah Lewis (Lewis & Clark), Jamie Lange (Puget Sound) and Kaitlin Jamieson (George Fox).

Camy Aguinaldo of Whitworth was tabbed as the Freshman of the Year and Peg Swadener of Willamette was honored as Coach of the Year.

Whitman, which sits at 22-3, opens the NWC postseason tourney Thursday when it hosts Willamette. Win there and the Blues advance to the title game Feb. 24 against either George Fox or Lewis & Clark.

After that likely comes the NCAA D-III women’s national tourney, where Whitman made a run to the Elite Eight during Stone’s freshman season.

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   Makana Stone netted a game-high eight rebounds Friday in a tough loss to Willamette. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Britanny Kochenderfer just drove a huge spike through the hearts of Whitman College women’s basketball fans.

The Willamette University junior, who entered play Friday shooting 39.2% on the season, got red-hot and may have shot the Blues out of being league champs.

With Kochenderfer raining down 24 points, on 9-12 shooting, including 3-3 from behind the arc, the visiting Bearcats shocked a cold-shooting Whitman squad 62-55.

The loss, the second-straight for the Blues after they put together a 21-game winning streak, drops Whitman to 13-2 in Northwest Conference play, 21-3 overall.

The news gets worse for Whitman, as their biggest rival, George Fox, took care of business Friday, shredding Lewis & Clark 81-58.

With the win, the Bruins move to 14-1, go a game up on Whitman with one to play and clinch at least a tie for the league title.

The Blues, who split two games with George Fox, need a perfect finale Saturday to gain part of the regular-season league title.

Whitman needs to bounce Linfield (5-10, 9-15), while hoping Pacific (4-11, 5-18) can somehow pull off a miracle against George Fox (14-1, 21-3).

Regardless of whether they finish first or second, the Blues host a playoff game Feb. 22 in Walla Walla.

The top four teams in the nine-team league advance to the postseason, with the winners in the semis facing off Feb. 24 in the title game.

If Whitman is the #2 seed, they get a rematch with Willamette (11-4, 15-9), which is locked in to the #3 seed.

George Fox, at #1, would face either Lewis & Clark (8-7, 13-11) or Puget Sound (7-8, 12-12), which play Saturday for the #4 seed.

After that comes the NCAA D-III women’s national tourney, where Whitman made it to the Elite Eight a season ago.

Friday night, the Blues could not get the ball to stay in the basket, shooting an icy 30% from the floor in the first half.

With their big two, senior All-American Casey Poe and sophomore Makana Stone, a combined 2-14 at the break, and Willamette torching the nets to a 56% tune, Whitman trailed 34-24.

Things got slightly better in the second half, as the shooting numbers finished at 50%-36%, but that wasn’t a big enough change for Whitman to make any huge rallies.

Every time the Blues made a mini-run, such as cutting the lead back to seven headed into the fourth, Willamette responded.

The Bearcats opened the fourth quarter with a 6-0 surge, while holding the Blues scoreless for five minutes-plus, and led 57-44 with 4:53 to play.

Whitman closed the game on an 11-5 run, but could never quite get over the hump.

Stone, the former Coupeville star, hauled down a game-high eight rebounds but was held to a season-low two points.

Heading into the regular-season finale Saturday, she is Whitman’s #2 scorer (308 points) and #1 rebounder (168 boards), while also dishing out 44 assists, rejecting four shots and making off with 16 steals.

Stone is shooting 53% from the floor (131-247) and 78% from the free-throw line (46-59) this season.

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   Makana Stone scored 16 points Saturday, but Whitman’s 21-game winning streak was snapped by George Fox. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was nice while it lasted.

Despite a 16-point, seven-rebound performance Saturday from Coupeville grad Makana Stone, the Whitman College women’s basketball squad lost for the first time in nearly three months.

Unable to recover from a late-game run by host George Fox University, the Blues fell 80-68, snapping their 21-game winning streak.

Whitman, now 13-1 in Northwest Conference play, 21-2 overall, hadn’t lost since its season opener way back on Nov. 15.

With the win, George Fox (13-1, 20-3) earned a season split with the Blues, garnered revenge for a loss in mid-Jan. and moved into a first-place tie.

Both teams have two regular-season games remaining next weekend.

Whitman hosts Willamette University (10-4) Friday and Linfield College (5-9) Saturday while George Fox hosts Lewis & Clark College (8-6) and Pacific University (3-11).

While they’re still fighting for the league title, Whitman and George Fox have clinched the top two slots and will host the league’s postseason tourney semifinal games Feb. 22.

Saturday’s battle royal came down to free throws (George Fox made 29 to Whitman’s 14), foul trouble for the Blues and one decisive fourth-quarter surge by the host squad.

After battling back from eight points down at the first break, Whitman regained the lead in the third quarter behind Stone.

The former Wolf had been locked to the bench for much of the first half after picking up two fouls, but the sophomore sensation came flying out of the halftime locker room to throw down eight points in the third quarter.

The game was still up for grabs with George Fox clinging to a 61-60 lead with seven minutes to play, but then every Whitman player not wearing #23 (Stone’s number) went ice-cold from the field.

The Bruins, taking full advantage of numerous trips to the free throw line, went on a 19-6 surge, with Stone the only Blue able to score.

With her 16-point performance, Stone passed two milestones — 300 points on the season and 500 for her career.

She sits with 306 and 514 respectively, with a first-quarter put-back off of an offensive rebound the bucket which gave her the second mark.

On the season, she’s Whitman’s second-leading scorer and top rebounder (160), while also having compiled 43 assists, four blocks and 16 steals.

Stone is shooting 55% from the floor (130 of 236) and 78% from the line (46-59).

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   Coupeville grad Makana Stone (middle) has helped lead Whitman to a 21-1 record this season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Their names are similar, but their games are not.

The Whitman College women’s basketball squad is as hot as any in the nation right now, and nothing changed Tuesday as it faced down Whitworth University.

The Blues, ranked #2 in the most-recent NCAA D-III coach’s poll, made it 21 straight wins, thumping their hosts 83-49.

Now, Whitman and its sophomore sensation, Coupeville grad Makana Stone, carry their 13-0 mark in the Northwest Conference (21-1 overall) into the biggest game of the year.

That comes this Saturday, Feb. 10, when Whitman makes its final regular season road trip, heading to Newberg, OR to face George Fox (11-1, 18-3).

The first time the two teams met, back in Jan. 12, Whitman won 77-71 in Walla Walla.

Tuesday, the Blues ran into a Whitworth squad hovering in the bottom third of their nine-team league, and quickly dispatched the Pirates.

After jumping out 16-9 at the first break, Whitman stretched the lead to 10 by halftime, then decimated Whitworth in the second half.

A 32-14 third quarter surge destroyed any chances the Pirates had to stage a comeback, allowing the Blues to clear their bench and cruise home for the win.

Stone was a warrior in the paint, dropping in 10 points, hauling down a college career-high 14 rebounds, dealing out two assists, pilfering a steal and soundly rejecting a Whitworth shot.

Seven of those boards came on the offensive glass.

It was the 12th time Stone has recorded double digit rebound totals in a game during her two years at Whitman, with her previous single-game high being 11 caroms retrieved.

For the season, she has 290 points (#2 on the team), 153 rebounds (#1), 42 assists, four blocks and 16 steals.

Stone is shooting 53% from the field (124 of 223) and 76% from the line (42-55).

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   Coupeville grad Makana Stone is the #1 rebounder and #2 scorer on the #2 team in NCAA D-III women’s basketball. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Let the beat-downs continue.

Mere days after jumping to #2 in the national polls, Coupeville grad Makana Stone and the Whitman College women’s basketball squad delivered a message.

Blowing open a close game with a tough foe late in the third quarter Friday, the Blues savaged host Lewis & Clark College 75-54 for their 19th straight win.

Whitman, which jumped from #4 to #2 in the most-recent NCAA D-III coach’s poll, sits at 11-0 in Northwest Conference play, 19-1 overall.

The Blues are a game up on George Fox (10-1, 17-3) with five to play, including a meeting with their closest rival Feb. 10 in Newberg, OR, as they chase a conference title.

Having knocked off Lewis & Clark (10-10, 5-6), Whitman heads to Forest Grove, OR Saturday to face Pacific University (3-16, 2-9).

Friday’s rumble with the Pioneers was a fairly close one until the final two minutes of the third quarter.

Clinging to a 53-48 lead at the time, Whitman delivered the KO punch by closing the third with an 11-0 run to thoroughly deflate the home crowd.

Just to make sure they got the point, Taylor Chambers drilled the bottom of the net with a three-ball coming out of the break, stretching the Blues lead to 67-48.

Whitman had three players land in double digits scoring, with All-American senior Casey Poe leading the way with 16. Mady Burdett added 15, while Emily Rommel knocked down 12.

Stone racked up eight points, seven boards, a steal and a blocked shot in her 50th game as a college player.

After playing in 30 of 31 games as a freshman, with Whitman going 26-5 and making a run to the Elite Eight, Stone has appeared in every game this year, starting 19 of them.

She sits with 275 points, 129 rebounds, 34 assists, three blocks and 14 steals and is #1 on the Blues in rebounding and #2 in scoring.

Stone, who is just 17 points from cracking 500 at the collegiate level, is shooting 58% from the floor (117-203) and 77% from the free throw line (41-53) this season.

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