FU women’s basketball loses on road

WHITTIER, Calif. — One rough period was the difference as the Finlandia University women’s basketball team (0-6) fell 67-64 to Whittier (1-3), Saturday afternoon at Graham Athletic Center.

“We played less than 24 hours ago, we played on the road Wednesday night. Whittier hadn’t played in six days. I’d say our kids are pretty darn tough. Proud of their resolve,” said head coach John Motherwell. “We played three great quarters of basketball. We dominated the fourth and finally played like I’ve expected this team to all along. Molly Berg was fantastic again with six assists and zero turnovers against four quarters of pressure. In addition, she held a kid averaging 21 a game to one field goal. Can’t say enough good things about her right now. Haley (Makela) stepped up. Nine rebounds in 12 minutes. That will earn her more minutes.”

Whittier went down 4-0 and then reeled off 12 straight points to lead by eight with 6:03 left. Finlandia responded with a 10-2 run tying the game at 3:15 on a pair of charity tosses by senior Julia Daavettila.

The rest of the period was a tightly played contest. In the last 84 seconds, junior Lela Horne had a jumper and Daavettila added two more free throws. That gave the Lions a 23-20 lead at the end of the first.

Neither the Poets nor FinnU could break thru in the second and take charge. There were four lead changes, two ties and the lead was never more than three points. Finlandia won the boards by 11 and held WC to 34.3% shooting from the floor in the first half.

The third period was one where Whittier could do no wrong and Finlandia struggled. The Poets shot 58.8% from the floor while holding the Lions to 23.1%. WC ended the period with a lead of 17.

Whittier led by 20, 64-44 with 7:02 to go before FinnU came back with guns blazing. Finlandia scored 16 straight points over the next six minutes. Daavettila drove and scored to make it 64-60 with 37 seconds left.

Following a WC free throw, Daavettila again scored in the paint to make it 65-62 with seven ticks left. The Lions were forced to foul and Whittier hit both free throws to seal the game. FinnU out-rebounded the Poets by 16 and held them to just four second-chance points.

“I thought we rebounded well and worked hard right up until the end,” said Daavettila. “Everyone did what they had to do to catch back up.”

For Finlandia, Daavettila had a strong around game with 20 points, 12 rebounds, five steals and shot 10-of-12 from the line. Senior Kelsie Richards had 14 points while Horne scored 12.

For Whittier, Mia Maglinte had 12 points and Emily Guerena had 13 points, 10 rebounds and four steals off the bench. 

Finlandia remains in sunny California, taking on Whittier, Saturday, Nov. 25. The game is scheduled to start at 1:00 p.m. PST