Variety pays off for L-C; Warriors push past Whitman in second half,
Copyright of The Lewiston
By MATT BANEY
OF THE TRIBUNE
Matched against a sleek squad from Whitman College, the
Lewis-Clark State women went with a gumbo game plan Saturday night.
Ashley Baker provided the height. Cami Kalbfleisch delivered satisfying
passes. Jade Fulbright chipped in spicy steals. And Nikki Haerling added a
dash of clutch play.
The recipe was a success. LCSC conked the Missionaries 69-60 in the de
facto championship of the American West Bank Tournament at Warrior Gym.
Considering their opponent -- Whitman entered this game 5-1 after
upsetting Carroll, the NAIA's No. 16 team, the night before -- this is one
of the Warriors' most impressive wins of the season.
L-C (9-4) focused its offense on Baker, the 6-foot-3 post, and she came
through with 19 points. But numerous other players helped carry the load.
The first half ended in a tie, and Whitman scooted to a quick six-point
edge after the break. But over a six-minute span, LCSC outscored the
Missionaries 12-0 to capture the lead for good.
It was a colorful burst. Haerling and Kendra West both canned 3-pointers,
Fulbright and Leah McCauley connected on floating jumpers and Katie Hart
climaxed the flurry with a twirling layup on a 2-on-4 fastbreak. (That was
two Warriors against four Missionaries, but that didn't slow Hart.)
L-C fended off a Whitman push down the stretch, and Haerling was the key
figure. With the Warriors up six, the Missionaries' Lizzy Washburn stole a
cross-court pass and blazed to the hoop. But Haerling planted herself in
front of the paint and took a charge.
"I thought one of the biggest plays of the game was when (Haerling) drew
the charge," L-C coach Brian Orr said. "... She sprinted to the spot, got
her feet set and took it. She's really good at that."
Haerling then went 3-for-4 from the line in the final minute.
The Missionaries' starting lineup topped out with 5-foot-11 Sarah Laird,
and they stuck with man-to-man defense most of the night. So Baker had
dominion over the paint, and she tossed in 11 of her points in the first
Whitman usually fronted the sophomore, so L-C lobbed passes over the
defense. Kalbfleisch was the most successful feeder of the post.
Baker "had 19 points tonight, and Cami had six assists," Orr said. "I
swear 12 of Ashley's points came off those assists."
The Warriors' defensive effort was highlighted by Fulbright, who nabbed
five steals. Four of those thefts came on cross-court passes that gave the
freshman from Wenatchee a clear path to the basket.
But Fulbright had a bit of trouble cashing in those breakaways. She
missed two of the layups and was called for traveling when she got her feet
tangled with a defender. (On one of the misses, Hart was on the scene to
slip in a putback.)
"I guess it's just all the pressure and you're hustling and you just want
to make it so bad," Fulbright said. "Thank goodness for Katie."
While this was a pleasing outing for the Warriors, both Fulbright and Orr
said the team can improve.
"I'd rate it at probably like seven (out of 10)," Fulbright said. "Even
though we did really well, I know we can do so much better. We have the
potential to be great."
"In terms of team improvement, teams are usually about 80 or 90 percent
after Christmas break," Orr said. "We're a long ways away from that. I think
our ceiling for improvement is still pretty high, and that's exciting."
NOTES -- Baker was named the MVP of this tournament while Fulbright made
the all-tournament team. The other recognized players were Whitman's
Washburn and Katie Patneaude; Carroll's Emili Woody; and William Jessup's
Washburn 3-7 3-5 9, Laird 5-11 0-0 11, Patneaude 5-8 2-2 13, Higgens 3-5
0-0 8, Vertatschitch 2-8 0-2 5, Sprague 2-7 0-0 5, Stephenson 1-3 2-2 4,
Francis 1-3 0-0 3, Krumdieck 1-4 0-0 2. Totals 23-56 7-11 60.
LEWIS-CLARK STATE (9-4)
Kalbfleisch 2-8 0-0 6, K. West 3-8 0-0 7, Baker 6-14 7-10 19, Haerling
3-13 3-4 10, Fulbright 4-7 0-0 8, Hart 3-4 0-0 6, Wittmer 1-4 0-0 2,
Yancheva 1-1 0-0 3, West 0-2 0-0 0, McCauley 4-6 0-1 8. Totals 27-67 10-15
Halftime score -- WC 35, LCSC 35. Three-point goals -- WC 7-21 (Laird
1-5, Patneaude 1-2, Higgens 2-3, Vertatschitch 1-5, Sprague 1-3, Francis
1-2, Krumdieck 0-1); LCSC 5-14 (Kalbfleisch 2-5, K. West 1-2, Haerling 1-4,
Wittmer 0-2, Yancheva 1-1). Rebounds -- WC 34 (Washburn, Stephenson 6); LCSC
43 (Baker 11). Assists -- WC 13 (Sprague 3); LCSC 17 (Kalbfleisch 6). Total
fouls -- WC 18; LCSC 16. Technical fouls -- none. Fouled out -- Washburn.