Speers, Shogren Lead Whitworth to 72-59 Win Over Bearcats

SALEM, OR — Down by 13 at halftime, Tiffany Speer and Sarah Shogren led the Whitworth Pirates back for a victory over the Willamette University women’s basketball team, 72-59, in a Northwest Conference game Friday night at the Cone Field house.

Shogren scored 19 of her game-high 23 points after halftime. Speer added 13 in the second half and 18 for the game. Dani Bielec scored 17 points. Shogren also led the Pirates (16-1, 7-1) with 12 rebounds and four assists.

For the Bearcats (5-11 overall, 2-5 NWC), Vanessa Wyffels scored 22 points and grabbed seven rebounds. Laura Payne added 14 points, 12 in the first half when she hit 4-4 from beyond the arc and the Bearcats opened up a 13-point lead on the NWC’s top team.

With Julia Short (13 points) and Payne burying jumpers, and Vanessa Wyffels scoring inside, the Bearcats looked on the verge of another major NWC upset.

But all that changed in the second half. While the bearcats were turning the ball over (they had 34 in the game), Shogren, Bielec, Speer and former Bearcat Wenchi Liu, chipped away at the lead.

Shogren’s 3-pointer gave Whitworth its first lead at 54-52 with 6:50 to play. Speer then scored five straight to push the lead to seven and the Pirates coasted to victory.

For the game both teams shot just over 50%. Willamette won the battle of the boards 28-24. But 63% shooting from Whitworth in the second half and the Bearcat turnovers spelled the difference.

Willamette faces Whitman College in another NWC match-up Saturday night. Game-time is 6 p.m.