Johns leads Whitman women to win

March 14, 2014 

The Whitman College women’s basketball team used a superb effort from junior Heather Johns to knock off Christopher Newport University 87-70 on Friday in an NCAA Division III third-round game in Walla Walla.

Johns, a Southridge High graduate, matched her career high with 30 points to lead the Missionaries (29-1) into the Elite Eight. The advancement ties the deepest they have gone in the tournament in school history set by the Missionaries last season.

Whitman will face Thomas More College at 7 p.m. today in Walla Walla. Doors open at 6 p.m. Tickets are $7 for adults and $4 for students and seniors.

Johns came out on fire Friday, scoring 10 of Whitman’s first 12 points. She opened 9-for-9 from the field, helping the Missionaries destroy Christopher Newport’s attempts at a half-court trapping defense.

She consistently got to the basket against the Captains, and even sacrificed her body, diving into the stands while chasing a loose ball.

Playing in front of a crowd of roughly 1,000, the Missionaries won their third consecutive game after suffering their only loss of the season in the Northwest Conference title game two weeks ago.

Now, Whitman faces the top-ranked team in the country. In fact, the game features the last two No. 1 ranked teams, as the Missionaries held that spot until their recent loss.

Thomas More defeated University of Texas-Tyler 73-61 in the first game in Walla Walla. Sydney Moss, the daughter of former NFL star Randy Moss, scored 26 points and pulled down eight rebounds to lead her team to the quarterfinals.

It’s the first trip to the Elite Eight for the Saints. Jenny Burgoyne added 20 points and 10 rebounds as they forced 21 turnovers and maintained a double digit lead throughout the second half.

Moss is just six points away from tying the Division III women’s single-season scoring record, set by Buena Vista’s Jeannie Demers.

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