The Warriors had just
planted a pair of 3-pointer late in the first half when Cami
Kalbfleisch squeezed off a try from the left side of the arc. The ball
banged off the rim and leapt to the top of the backboard, where it
bounced four or five times.
That, of course, made it a dead ball, and an official blew his
whistle. But just as the players started moving down the court, the
ball whimsically tumbled off the board and into the hoop -- like a
stockbroker falling into free money.
Without that trey, the Lewis-Clark State women's push fizzled --
just like three or four other potentially game-icing rallies.
So the 23rd-ranked Warriors weren't
able to blow out Westminster, a club with just three wins. But they
were more than happy to escape with a 77-70 Frontier Conference
victory Saturday night at the Activity Center.
It turns out that the Griffins (3-14, 0-3) are hardly pushovers.
Forward Shalee Fackrell, one of the top scorers in the NAIA, put up 19
points while guards Lindsey Huffman and Emily Johnson posted 22 and 13
After LCSC (14-5, 3-0) pieced together a 13-point lead with six
minutes left, it was Huffman and Johnson who led Westminster back.
Johnson bottomed out a 3-pointer, followed by a three-point play and
another triple from Huffman. Then, with 3:47 remaining, Fackrell
slipped in two foul shots to tie it, 65-all.
This seemed to flip the Warriors'
switch. On successive possessions, Jade Fulbright chased in an
offensive rebound, Leah McCauley buried a short jumper, Nikki Haerling
split two free throws and Fulbright made a twisting layup.
"The great thing is, we found a way to win," LCSC coach Brian Orr
said. "Westminster was game; they weren't backing down from anything.
They looked confident out there the whole night."
This contest could signal the rise of the Griffins. It was only the
third time all of their players were available. Plus, they played a
nonconference schedule that included dates with seven teams rated in
the NAIA top 25 and two NCAA Division I clubs.
"And of course, I'm new," first-year coach JD Gustin said. "So
we're still trying to find ourselves. So to come into a place like
this, with the tradition that L-C has, that makes me extremely proud
of our kids."
Westminster took advantage of two Warrior deficiencies -- their
defense and rebounding. LCSC opened the game and the second half with
a man-to-man scheme, but switched after just a few plays.
"I don't know if you noticed," Orr said, "but every time we went
man, it was just like the parting of the seas, and Huffman was going
right to the basket. If she didn't score, we fouled her and she scored
at the line.
"We worked on a 1-3-1 (zone defense) this week just in case -- just
in case," he added. "And it was just in case pretty early."
LCSC sophomore post Ashley Baker battled foul trouble all night,
and ended up fouling out. McCauley, the backup post from Grangeville,
scored 19 points on 7-for-11 shooting while Haerling added 18 points.
Fulbright, who was especially effective down the stretch, finished
with 10 points and six rebounds.
"I thought our girls played hard, but we just looked a step slow,"
Orr said. "And not to make excuses, but we just haven't recovered over
the flu bug. ... I don't think anyone is at 100 percent."
WESTMINSTER (3-14, 0-3)
Johnson 5-16 0-0 13, Huffman 5-14 9-11 22, Fackrell 5-10 9-12 19,
Layton 1-4 0-0 3, Barney 2-6 2-2 6, Baldwin 2-5 0-0 4, Haberle 1-1 0-0
3, Hirschi 0-0 0-0 0, Dodge 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-56 20-25 70.
LEWIS-CLARK STATE (14-5, 3-0)
Kalbfleisch 3-9 0-0 7, K. West 4-8 3-4 9, Baker 3-9 1-4 7, Haerling
6-11 2-6 18, Fulbright 4-10 2-2 10, Hart 0-1 0-0 0, Wittmer 0-0 0-0 0,
Yancheva 0-0 0-0 0, Boggs 0-1 0-0 0, V. West 3-7 0-0 6, Jackson 0-1
1-2 1, McCauley 7-11 5-6 19. Totals 30-68 13-23 77.
Halftime score -- Lewis-Clark State 42, Westminster 34. Three-point
goals -- Westminster 8-22 (Johnson 3-12, Huffman 3-7, Layton 1-2,
Haberle 1-1), L-C 4-11 (Kalbfleisch 1-3, K. West 0-1, Haerling 3-4,
Hart 0-1, V. West 0-2). Rebounds -- Westminster 43 (Fackrell 9, Layton
9), L-C 38 (K. West 8). Assists -- Westminster 14 (Johnson 7), L-C 15
(Haerling 4). Total fouls -- Westminster 20, L-C 18. Fouled out --
none. Technical fouls -- none. Att -- 1,200.