With her colorful, epoch-spanning career at Lewis-Clark State nearing its end, Jessica Foot delivered a performance on Thursday night that was quintessential of her style -- breezy yet brave, with a somehow Australian flavor to it.
Just don't blame her that the game had all the crispness of soggy cereal.
With the senior guard from Brisbane, Australia, matching her career high of 27 points, the Warriors pieced their way to an 80-60 Frontier Conference win over lowly Great Falls at Warrior Gym. LCSC, ranked 24th in the nation, improved to 16-6 overall and 4-2 in conference.
Although the Warriors led almost the entire game, it took longer than it probably should have for them to muster a game-deciding push. With less than 11 minutes left, the Argos (1-19, 0-6) were within nine.
LCSC's ensuing jolt was fronted by freshman Ashley Baker. The Warriors had trouble feeding the 6-foot-3 post early on, but she wriggled free for four buckets during a brief second-half stretch.
And when BreAnna Mulvey canned a 3-pointer and Kendra West slipped in two free throws, L-C had its first 20-point lead ... with five minutes left.
"We won by 20, so that's a good thing," Warriors coach Brian Orr said. "When you win by 20 and feel like you haven't done well, there are some positives to that. But in the locker room, it just didn't feel like we were the winning team tonight, because I know we're capable of playing much better."
Foot was the exception, and she followed her typical script: nervy drives to the hoop and three bombs from behind the arc.
She had to earn her offense, connecting on 12 of 13 tries from the free-throw line. To get those fouls, Foot sustained several blows, including a scary-looking spill midway through the second half that took her a few moments to shake off.
"I landed parallel on my back," she said. "It was just a little jarred. My lower back is actually a little sore. I'll just ice it.
"I don't think about getting hurt," Foot added, "I think about finishing."
As she was last season, Foot is the only player on L-C roster who played for former coach Mike Divilbiss. When she departs the program at the end of this season, it will mark the end of an era.
Leah McCauley and Elpidia Valle made their return to Warrior Gym after missing approximately six weeks with injuries. Neither scored but McCauley snatched three rebounds (all offensive) and Valle dished off five assists.
Baker and West each tallied 15 points while leading scorer Cami Kalbfleisch managed 10 points.
NOTES -- Also in uniform, but not eligible, was Katya Yancheva. The Bulgarian native is still waiting for a transcript to arrive before she can play. "If it's here tomorrow, she's in," Orr said. ... Foot previously scored 27 points in a December game with Concordia, when she hit a school-record nine 3-pointers.
GREAT FALLS (1-19, 0-6)
Freeman 7-17 2-4 20, Austin 3-7 0-0 6, Neill 5-18 0-3 13, Meyer 0-2 0-0 0, McPherson 3-6 0-2 6, Olson 0-2 0-0 0, Oram 4-6 0-0 8, Bird 1-1 4-4 7, Ranf 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-59 8-14 60.
LEWIS-CLARK STATE (16-6, 4-2)
Kalbfleisch 5-16 0-0 10, Mulvey 3-7 1-2 9, Foot 6-16 12-13 27, Baker 7-11 1-2 15, West 5-9 5-6 15, Wittmer 2-7 0-1 4, de Groot 0-0 0-0 0, Valle 0-1 0-0 0, Morgan 0-0 0-0 0, McCauley 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 28-68 19-24 80.
Halftime score -- LCSC 33, UGF 21. Three-point goals -- UGF 6-16 (Freeman 2-4, Neill 3-8, Meyer 0-2, Olson 0-1, Bird 1-1); LCSC 5-22 (Kalbfleisch 0-5, Mulvey 2-4, Foot 3-11, Wittmer 0-1, Valle 0-1). Rebounds -- UGF 33 (McPherson 9); LCSC 48 (West 11). Assists -- UGF 12 (Freeman 5); LCSC 19 (Mulvey, Valle 5). Total fouls -- UGF 17; LCSC 18. Fouled out -- Oram. Technical fouls -- none.