'Cats swept by Whitworth, Whitman, lose 19th game
Solomon missed her entire freshman season with torn ligaments in her knee, but she has started 14 of 21 games this season, including Friday and Saturday vs. Whitworth and Whitman.
In Friday’s 69-53 loss to Whitworth (19-6, 12-4), Solomon had immediate impact for the struggling Wildcats (2-19, 1-14).
After missing the first basket of the game for Linfield, Solomon got the ball again on the second trip and drained a 3-pointer from the right elbow giving the Wildcats the 3-0 lead.
“Every time I get that first basket, I know it’s going to be a good day,” Solomon said. “I gain more confidence when my shots start to fall, so that was definitely a good start.”
In all, Solomon finished the game with eight points, four rebounds and three assists. She led all scorers with eight points at the half, but was unable to get it going in the second half due to foul trouble.
Solomon scored six points and had six rebounds Saturday in Linfield’s 67-53 loss vs. Whitman.
“She’s always good for us,” Linfield coach Robin Potera-Haskins said. “I was just hard because she got into foul trouble. I think she could’ve had a much bigger night if not for the fouls.”
With Solomon in foul trouble, it was a fellow sophomore that stepped up off the bench.
Tyra Barawis didn’t play in the first half, but she played the biggest role in the Wildcats’ second-half comeback.
Linfield trailed 33-22 at the half, and without Solomon, the Wildcats needed a new leader and a new game plan.
Barawis played the center position and dominated the key. She was bigger, and more forceful than all of the Pirates’ post players.
“Yeah, it was really good,” Potera-Haskins said. “She did a really good job. I was just thrilled with her performance in the second half. She just did a great job for us tonight.”
Potera-Haskins said going inside to Barawis was in the game plan for the second half because Whitworth lacked size in the post, and the Wildcats could expose that.
“Yeah, it was absolutely our plan,” she said. “It worked. It was the best game of the year that she’s had for us.”
Barawis finished the night with 12 points and eight rebounds.
Barawis said it was a vindicating night for her because she was injured for most of her freshman year, and she hasn’t been able to get the production and minutes she’s been hoping to receive this year.
“It felt great,” Barawis said. “Last season I had been hurt, and this season it’s been kind of like — I’ve gotten minutes and haven’t really produced. So tonight felt good, I was due, and I started making some shots.”
Her production in the second half helped Linfield back from its 11-point halftime deficit. With the help of Barawis and other members of the bench, Linfield cut Whitworth’s lead to 37-36.
The Wildcats’ bench finished with 22 points and 16 rebounds.
It was Emily Travis who carried the Pirates to victory. Travis had seven points at the half, but led her team with 14 second-half points in the final 12 minutes.
Travis’ scoring grew Whitworth’s lead to 59-50 with five minutes left, and the Wildcats were unable to stop the hot shooting.
Linfield’s largest struggle on the night was free throws.
The Wildcats finished the first half shooting 3-of-8, and went 10-for-25 to finish the game. Linfield forced 13 Whitworth turnovers, but the Wildcats committed 18.
“We’ve go to do a better job making free throws,” Potera-Haskins said. “It’s been our nemesis all year. You can’t go 10-for-25 from the line and expect to win, it’s just not going to happen.”
Linfield ranks last in the Northwest Conference in free throw percentage at 50 percent.
Potera-Haskins admitted that the free throws have to get better if the Wildcats want to finish the season with wins.
Notes: Kaely Maltman finished with eight points and four rebounds, and Alex Christensen also gave Linfield a spark off the bench with seven points, and she went 4-of-4 from the free throw line. … The Wildcats lost 67-53 Saturday vs. Whitman, and finish the regular season at 6 p.m. Tuesday at home vs. Willamette. A loss would give Linfield the fewest wins ever in the history of the women’s basketball program, as well as the lowest winning percentage (.100), though the program wouldn’t set its low-mark for most losses. The Wildcats have four times lost 22 games in a season and 21 once.