MATT BANEY OF THE LEWISTON TRIBUNE, March
can't forge winning rally this time, makes
JACKSON, Tenn. -- When two late free throws
from Katya Yancheva gave Lewis-Clark State
its first lead of the second half, it seemed
the Warriors were about to add another
escape to their collection. Once again, they
had jumped from the path of a runaway
boulder at the last possible second.
Only it wasn't the last possible second. In
fact, there were 35 seconds on the Oman
Arena clock, and Cumberland was eager to
perform its own death-defying stunts.
After scrambling back from a 13-point
deficit to seize an unlikely lead, LCSC
couldn't stop the Bulldogs in the final
moments. The Warriors tumbled to an 86-83
loss in the NAIA Division I women's
basketball tournament Friday afternoon.
So LCSC's best campaign since 2001 ended
earlier than expected -- in the second round
of this single-elimination playoff. The
Warriors collected the second-most wins in
program history and finished 31-3.
Although L-C was fighting from behind nearly
the entire second half, Brian Orr remained
"I really believed in my heart we were going
to find a way to win it," the sixth-year
coach said. "And when we finally went up by
a point right at the end, I thought, 'We're
going to do this.' "
After Yancheva's trip to the line gave the
Warriors an 83-82 advantage, Cumberland
turned to Kiana Robinson, a multi-skilled
forward from New York. She missed a fling in
the paint, but C'Kala Humes snatched the
offensive rebound, drew a foul and made both
LCSC's Janeen Nelson -- who, along with
fellow senior Ashley Baker, finished with 24
points -- tried to answer with a drive down
the baseline. But Nelson was called for a
carry when the ball got caught on her hip.
The Bulldogs' Angela Cross then converted
two free throws with 10 seconds left to make
it a three-point spread.
"That's the girl we wanted to foul," Orr
said of Cross. "She's the lowest in terms of
free-throw percentage on the team. She's 61
percent. And she stepped up and made them
Had it been a two-point game, Orr said he
would have given the ball to Jade Fulbright,
told her to attack the hoop and hope for a
bucket or a putback. But with the margin at
three, L-C needed a bomb from Nelson.
The senior from Utah fired a long, fadeaway
3-pointer from the left wing. It grazed the
backboard, then clanged off.
"I've always told them that it takes courage
to take that shot," Orr said. "You're a hero
if it goes in. If not, it's one you'll
remember for a long time. It's a courageous
shot. I think that's more important than
whether it goes in or not --- that you had
the courage to take it."
The Warriors scooted to a nine-point lead
early, but found themselves tied late in the
first half. Then came a harbinger of LCSC's
doom: Robinson buried a deep 3-pointer just
before the halftime buzzer to give the team
from Lebanon, Tenn., the lead.
Cumberland (25-7) then roared ahead in the
second half, eventually building a 60-47
edge with less than 11 minutes left.
At that point, the Warriors finally started
to push back. They switched to a 1-2-1-1
defense -- their "gamble press," as Orr
called it -- and jarred four straight
turnovers from Cumberland. The resulting
12-0 sprint cut the margin to a single
So what were the Warriors thinking at that
"We're going to win; you guys better watch
out -- that's what I was thinking," Nelson
said. "We've got the momentum now. You
shouldn't have ever given it up, because
we're so dangerous."
Unfortunately for L-C, it was a danger the
Bulldogs were able to handle.
Cross 5-13 2-2 13, Hall 5-12 2-2 12, Humes
3-4 11-13 17, Robinson 5-13 3-3 15, Williams
5-7 1-2 16, Forrest 0-0 0-0 0, Fernandes 1-3
0-0 2, Cunico 2-5 0-0 4, Maddox 1-4 0-0 2,
Ruis 2-5 0-0 5. Totals 29-66 19-22 86.
LEWIS-CLARK STATE (31-3)
Hart 2-3 0-0 4, Baker 9-18 6-9 24, Yancheva
5-7 2-4 13, Nelson 7-18 6-6 24, Fulbright
2-9 6-6 10, Wittmer 2-4 1-2 5, Preston 0-1
0-0 0, Mendezona 0-0 0-0 0, Troutt 0-0 0-0
0. Totals 28-63 22-28 83.
Halftime score --- Cumberland 37, LCSC 34.
Three-point goals --- Cumberland 9-24 (Cross
1-4, Robinson 2-7, Williams 5-7, Fernandez
0-1, Cunico 0-1, Maddox 0-2, Ruis 1-2); LCSC
5-15 (Yancheva 1-2, Nelson 4-12, Preston
0-1). Rebounds -- Cumberland 36 (Hall 8);
LCSC 38 (Baker 9). Assists --- Cumberland 17
(Cross 8); LCSC 13 (Wittmer 3). Total fouls
--- Cumberland 25, LCSC 19. Technical fouls
--- none. Fouled out --- Hart.