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Posts Tagged ‘Northwest Conference’

Coupeville’s Makana Stone, here with mom Eileen, went off for 22 points and 11 rebounds Thursday in a college basketball playoff win. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Sweet, sweet revenge.

If you lose twice to the same team in the regular season, but bounce back to win the third meeting in the playoffs, who really cares about the first two games?

Not the Whitman College women’s basketball team, which rallied behind an inspired performance from Coupeville’s Makana Stone Thursday to derail visiting Puget Sound 69-61.

The victory, coming in the semifinals of the Northwest Conference postseason tourney, lifts the Blues to 20-6 and sends them to the tourney title game.

That game, where the winner earns an automatic berth to the NCAA D-III national championships, goes down Saturday in Newberg, OR.

Second-seeded Whitman, which avenged eight and five-point losses to #3 UPS, faces league champ George Fox (23-3) in the finale. The Bruins drilled #4 Linfield 76-49 Thursday in their semifinal game.

The title tilt will be the rubber match for the two squads, as Whitman and George Fox split their regular season bouts.

The Blues won 73-54 on the road Jan. 12, before falling 61-57 at home Feb. 8 in Walla Walla.

Thursday night’s game pitted Stone, a junior just named to her second-straight All-Conference team, against the league’s MVP, junior post player Jamie Lange.

While both played well, Coupeville’s ace came out ahead on three counts.

Stone’s game-high 22 points and 11 rebounds edged out Lange’s 18 and 11, the UPS star fouled out, and, most importantly, Whitman won.

As expected, it was a close game most of the way, just as the first two meetings between these teams played out.

Puget Sound jumped out to an early lead in the first quarter, but couldn’t pull away, eventually settling for a narrow 14-11 lead at the first break.

Whitman, behind six points from Stone, carried the second quarter, using a 15-12 run to knot things at 26-26 at the half.

Whatever happened in the locker room, be it a dramatic speech, or just some quality Gatorade, the Blues came out on fire in the third quarter, busting open the game.

The host team pulled out in front by eight points heading into the fourth, then eventually ran their lead all the way to a 13-point bulge in the fourth.

UPS rallied, however, twice cutting the lead to five.

That was as close as the Loggers would get, though, as Stone went off for 10 of her 22 points in the game’s final 10 minutes.

Her offensive display included a dagger of a jumper in the late going, which took the remaining air out of the visitors.

Stone added a pair of steals and two teeth-rattling blocks to her game-busting performance, while teammates Mady Burdett and Maegan Martin added 14 and 10 points respectively.

On the season, Stone sits with 378 points, 214 rebounds, 40 assists, 28 steals, and 20 blocks.

She’s hit on 158-309 field goals and 61-77 free throws.

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Coupeville grad Makana Stone, a junior at Whitman College, has been named a First-Team All-Conference basketball pick for the second straight season. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They still like her.

Coming off a season in which she was tabbed as a player of the week three times, Coupeville grad Makana Stone has been named a First-Team All-League pick for the second straight season by Northwest Conference women’s basketball coaches.

The Whitman College junior, who leads the Blues into the NWC tourney Thursday, was also honored after her sophomore season.

Stone is joined on the first team by Whitman junior guard Mady Burdett, as the Blues, who are 19-6 on the season, are one of two schools to land two players on the first unit.

Jamie Lange, a junior post player from the University of Puget Sound, was picked as league MVP.

Molly Danielson of Linfield, Emily Spencer of league champ George Fox, and Elizabeth Prewitt of UPS round out the first team.

Stone and Lange are the only players to repeat from last year’s first team, while Spencer and Prewitt were on the second team in 2017-2018.

Whitman’s lone senior, Maegan Martin, received Honorable Mention status.

In addition to Lange’s MVP award, the other big winners were Delsie Johnson of Lewis & Clark (Freshman of the Year) and Michael Meek of George Fox (Coach of the Year).

As she and her teammates head to what is hopefully a long postseason run, Stone sits with 356 points, 203 rebounds, 40 assists, 26 steals, and 18 blocks.

She’s shooting 149-290 (51.4%) from the floor and 57-73 (78.1%) from the line.

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Makana Stone (23) and her Whitman teammates will need everything to break right Saturday for them to host a playoff game. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

Six days from now, the Whitman College women’s basketball team will be in the playoffs.

But, barring a last-second reversal of fortune Saturday, the Blues and former Coupeville star Makana Stone will start the postseason on the road.

Despite a strong second-half rally Friday, Whitman couldn’t quite make up for a poor first half, falling 60-55 to the University of Puget Sound.

The road loss, coming in the next-to-last regular season game, drops the Blues, 12-3 in Northwest Conference play, 18-6 overall, into a tie for second-place with UPS (12-3).

But, since the Loggers swept the season series, also winning 75-67 in Walla Walla Jan. 19, they hold the tiebreaker.

Unless Whitman beats Pacific Lutheran (7-8) Saturday and UPS falls to Whitworth (7-8), the Blues will be the #3 seed to the four-team NWC tourney.

League champ George Fox (15-1) hosts whichever 7-8 team — PLU, Whitworth or Linfield — emerges Saturday to claim the #4 seed, while #2 hosts #3.

The first round of the single-elimination tourney goes down Feb. 21, with the title game Feb. 23.

The tourney champ gets an automatic bid to the NCAA D-III national championships, while other NWC teams will sweat out the announcement of at-large teams.

Friday’s loss came down largely to one really bad five-minute-plus stretch in the second quarter.

Whitman led through much of the first quarter, and, even after finally losing the advantage, was still hanging tough down 21-16 with 6:20 to play in the first half.

Unfortunately for the Blues, their shooting touch promptly went into deep freeze, and Puget Sound took advantage.

Using a 14-0 tear over the next five minutes and 32 seconds, the Loggers turned a close game into a potential blowout.

Kaelan Shamseldin finally snapped the scoring drought, pulling off a three-point play the hard way, but her bucket and free throw could only trim the halftime deficit to 35-19.

The second half was a different story, as Whitman shaved away at the lead with 17-9 and 19-16 runs across the final two periods.

Stone drained a jumper to pull the Blues within four points late in the third quarter, then slipped a free throw through the net to slice the margin to 49-46 with a hair under four minutes to play in the game.

Puget Sound hung tough down the stretch, though.

Even with the league’s arguably-best player, Jamie Lange, held to just seven points, the Loggers found just enough offense to persevere.

Elizabeth Prewitt rattled the rim for a game-high 20, with seven of those points coming down the stretch, to pace UPS.

For Whitman, Mady Burdett scorched the nets for 18, and the lone Blues senior, Maegan Martin, notched a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds.

Stone, who had to battle through foul trouble, finished with seven points, six rebounds, and an assist, while being restricted to just 13 minutes of floor time.

The former Wolf ace is sitting with 339 points, 192 rebounds, 40 assists, 25 steals, and 18 blocks for her junior campaign.

She’s shooting 144-276 from the field, and 50-65 from the line.

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Coupeville grad Makana Stone returned from an injury to score a team-high 16 points Friday for Whitman. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

It was a good news, bad news kind of night Friday in Walla Walla.

On the positive side, Coupeville’s Makana Stone was back on the floor after missing a game with a sprained ankle.

But while the former Wolf was running seemingly effortlessly after sitting a week-plus, and went off for a team-high 16 points, Whitman College came up just short in the biggest game of the year.

With Stone padlocked to the bench after picking up a phantom fifth foul with two-and-a-half minutes to play, the Blues couldn’t hold on to a one-point lead in the final minute, falling 61-57 to visiting George Fox.

The loss gives Whitman a season split with their biggest women’s basketball rivals, with both teams winning on the other’s floor, and it comes at a crucial time.

George Fox, the defending Northwest Conference champs, moves to 12-1 in league play, and sits a game up on Whitman (11-2) with three to play.

Whitman, 17-5 overall, has already clinched one of the four playoff berths for the NWC postseason tourney, and can finish no lower than third in the final standings.

The Blues finish their run through the nine-team league with a string of tough games.

After hosting #4 Linfield (7-6, 11-11) Saturday on Senior Night, Whitman closes the regular season on the road Feb. 15-16 against #3 Puget Sound (10-3, 17-4) and #5 Pacific Lutheran (6-7, 13-8).

Friday night’s rumble with George Fox pitted the top offense in the Northwest Conference against the top defense.

In the end, the defense triumphed … with a little help from the refs, who compounded the call on Stone by also whiffing on a crucial non-call with 12 seconds to go which would have given Whitman a chance to tie the game.

Right before fouling out, Stone hit a huge bank shot to cut Whitman’s deficit to 51-49.

Even after losing their top scorer and rebounder, the Blues hung tough, taking a 53-52 lead with a hair over a minute to play, thanks to back-to-back buckets from Taylor Chambers, who hadn’t scored all night.

Whitman then shrugged off a George Fox three-ball thanks to a nifty Natalie Whitesel reverse layup which knotted things at 55 all.

The final 30 seconds, though, belonged to Bruin star Emily Spencer.

A demon on defense all night, she stepped up to drill the already-mentioned trey, then put George Fox ahead to stay with a slashing layup with just 26 ticks left on the clock.

Whitesel had a chance to go to the line, but all three refs ignored the Prairie High School grad being hammered by a host of Bruins on the ensuing layup attempt.

From there, George Fox swished all four of its free throw attempts in the game’s final 10 seconds, with Spencer appropriately dropping the final daggers, and Whitman’s last chance wafted away.

The game started as an offensive show, with Stone slamming home six points in the opening quarter, to go with 10 from hot-shooting teammate Mady Burdett.

While Whitman trailed 22-20 at the first break, thanks to George Fox scoring right at the buzzer, the Blues looked strong.

And no one played as effectively as Stone did, as she picked the ball from a George Fox ball-handler and went coast to coast for a breakaway bucket.

On defense, she was equally a force, rejecting a shot and twice forcing opposing post players into committing travels as they tried to get around her in the paint.

A Burdett three-ball capped a 7-0 Whitman run, sending the Blues into the locker room up 33-30.

That stirred positive memories of the first meeting between these teams, for everyone from the announcers on the internet stream to random people watching the feed in ice-covered Coupeville.

Back on Jan. 12 in Newberg, OR, Whitman savaged George Fox in the third quarter and turned a three-point halftime bulge into a 73-54 blowout.

Friday night, however, the Blues went cold from the outside, and it hurt them.

After scoring 13 in the first half, Burdett was held scoreless across the game’s final 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, Whitman, the best three-ball-shooting team in the league, suffered through a 3 for 17 performance from behind the arc.

Stone did what she could, powering her way to three more buckets in the third, but Spencer stung Whitman for the first of many times, popping an offensive rebound back up and in with a single second on the clock.

That staked George Fox to a 45-44 lead heading into the fourth, and then the ref’s glaucoma became an issue.

Stone, who missed a chunk of the game after injuring herself against Whitworth Jan. 29, then sat out against Lewis & Clark Feb. 1, made her return an auspicious one.

Netting her 16 points on strong 8-11 shooting, she also ripped down six rebounds, pilfered two steals and rejected a shot in 27 minutes of floor time.

On the season, the Whitman junior sits with 313 points, 181 rebounds, 38 assists, 25 steals and 18 blocks.

Stone is shooting 132-257 from the floor and 48-62 at the free throw line.

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Coupeville grad Makana Stone netted her fourth-straight double-double Friday as Whitman College won by 41 points. (Photo by JohnsPhotos.net)

They’re not playing around.

The Whitman College women’s basketball team faced a dangerous foe Friday night, a Pacific Lutheran University team which came to Walla Walla boasting an 11-3 record.

Well, now it’s 11-4 after the Blues put a 41-point whuppin’ on the Lutes.

Paced by Coupeville grad Makana Stone, who went for her fourth-straight double-double, Whitman cruised to a 91-50 victory, maintaining a perfect record in league play.

With the win, their seventh-straight and eleventh in their last 12 games, the Blues are 7-0 in Northwest Conference play, 13-3 overall.

Whitman sits a game up on defending league champ George Fox (6-1) and two ahead of Puget Sound (5-2), which arrives Saturday in Walla Walla.

UPS will find a Blues team that is as hot as any in the land, and one which cracked the NCAA D-III Top 25 rankings this week.

With Stone throwing down 11 points, including hitting her first collegiate three-ball, Whitman controlled Friday’s game from start to finish.

A 26-11 lead after one turned into a 49-29 bulge at the half, then things got nasty during a 24-9 Blues run in the third frame.

That was the quarter Stone elevated and splatted her first trey in a Whitman uniform.

The former Wolf also finished with a game-high 11 rebounds in just 19 minutes of action, helping Whitman crush PLU 46-29 on the boards.

She has eight double-doubles and counting during her junior season.

As Whitman heads into play Saturday, Stone sits with 256 points, 148 rebounds, 25 assists, 20 steals, and 17 blocks on the season.

She’s shooting 106-206 from the floor and 43-55 from the free-throw line.

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