LCSC holds off Fresno Pacific 59-49 for eighth straight win
It wasn’t exactly a work of art, like a Van Gogh or a Picasso, but it wasn’t a stick drawing either that the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team resembled when it beat Fresno Pacific 56-49 in the second day of the Wells Fargo Invitational on Saturday at the LCSC Activity Center.
“We won the game and we did it the hard way,” LCSC coach Brian Orr said. “It felt like the game was starting to slip away but we made some big plays when we needed to.”
The Warriors, 10-3 overall, needed their first defensive charge call of the season along with a key 3-pointer from senior guard Kim Preston to stave off any upset hopes of Fresno Pacific, 6-3 overall.
LCSC led by 11, 46-35, with 9:55 left, but then went more than five minutes without scoring as Fresno Pacific used an 8-0 run to cut the margin to 46-43. The Warriors, however, couldn’t shake off the Sunbirds and a bucket by Jessica Mazza at the 1:58 mark cut LCSC’s lead to one at 50-49. That’s when Preston stepped up a hit a 3-pointer and Nikki DePeel took a defensive charge call on Mazza at the 1:21 mark. With Fresno Pacific unable to score, LCSC’s Kenna Reiter hit a pair of free throws while Alyssa Fierro made another for the final.
LCSC, which stretched its win streak to eight games, used solid spurts in the first half to open up a 31-24 halftime lead. The Warriors kept the lead the entire second half, but never could put Fresno Pacific away.
“We just couldn’t get into any rhythm tonight, but I am going to credit their defense for that,” Orr said. “I know after the game I went into the locker room with my eye brows raised and Kim Preston says ‘Hey coach, it’s a win.’ It wasn’t a pretty win, but it was a win.”
The Warriors certainly will take it. LCSC played well defensively for the most part, holding Fresno Pacific to just 34.5 percent shooting from the field. That figure would be a lot lower if it wasn’t for 5-foot-5 senior guard Samantha Cardeno, who hit 7-of-11 3-point shots and finished with a game-high 21 points. Without Cardeno, Fresno Pacific was 12-of-41 from the field, 29.3 percent.
LCSC countered with a balanced offensive attack as eight players scored in the game, but only one, DePeel, finished in double figures with 16.
LCSC freshman guard Jasmine Stohr, who was named the tournament’s MVP, had seven points, six rebounds, two assists, and two steals. She was joined on the all-tournament team by DePeel, Jessica Torrecillas of Fresno Pacific, Colleen Planeta and Amanda Franz of Point Loma Nazarene, and Marissa Francis of Great Falls.
Stohr was one of three LCSC players who received MVP votes from the voters, consisting of game management and the media.
Warrior freshman post Alyssa Fierro just missed her first collegiate double-double as she finished with nine points and nine rebounds. Kenna Reiter added eight points, six rebounds and four assists, while Preston added seven points.
The Warriors had a 39-33 rebounding edge, but also had 17 turnovers to 15 for Fresno Pacific. The Sunbirds also collected 12 steals in the game.
The Warriors finished 18-of-48 from the field for 37.5 percent, and 6-of-17 from the 3-point line for 35.3 percent. DePeel was 3-of-6 from the 3-point line.
LCSC now has nearly a month off before its next regular season game, which is at Great Falls to open Frontier Conference play. LCSC’s next contest is an exhibition game in three weeks against the University of Seattle on Jan. 3 in Seattle.
Orr said the Warriors still have some new offenses to put in and will work on a number of things while also taking small breaks for finals week and the holidays.
In Saturday’s first game, Planeta showed why she’s leading the NAIA in scoring heading into the tournament as she put up 25 points and grabbed 12 rebounds to help Point Loma roll past Great Falls 89-49. Both teams finish 1-1 in the tournament.