DePeel leads Warriors to victory in conference opener
GREAT FALLS, Mont. – Behind the shooting of Nikki DePeel, the Lewis-Clark State women’s basketball team broke away from the University of Great Falls in the second half to overcome the Argos 83-66 on Friday night. The win marks the beginning of the conference schedule and extends LCSC’s winning streak to nine.
A first half of foul trouble and UGF’s hot-handed Cassie Holmlund left the Warriors down 39-37 at halftime against a team that was picked to finish last in the Frontier Conference preseason coaches’ poll. At the midpoint, four-out-of-five of LCSC’s starters had two fouls, and Holmlund, a 5-foot-6 junior, had 16 points on 5-for-7 shooting from the field and 3-for-4 shooting from the 3-point line. LCSC’s answer in the second half was its own 5-foot-6 junior in DePeel who scorched the net in the second half with 16 points and 3-for-3 shooting from behind the arc.
DePeel finished with 22 points as she went 5-for-5 from 3-point territory and 7-for-9 from the field.
The tipping point in the game seemed to come halfway through the second half when LCSC senior Sadie Short came away with a steal and then dished it to DePeel who sunk a three to give the Warriors a 57-53 lead. After this 3-pointer and in the final 11 minutes the Warriors outscored Great Falls 26-13.
Although both teams shot near 50 percent from the field in the first half, UGF’s shooting tapered off in the second half to end the game at 21-for-54 (38.9 percent) while LCSC finished 28-for-62 (45.2 percent).
Lewis-Clark State’s rebounding and bench also proved to be two big factors in the game. LCSC outrebounded the Argos 45-32, and had 32 of its points come from the bench, while UGF saw only 10 points from its nonstarters.
Besides DePeel, freshman Alyssa Fierro had a standout game as she scored 15 points and collected seven rebounds. Kim Preston and Kenna Reiter also scored in double figures as they had 12 and 11 points, respectively. Preston also had seven assists, while Short finished with a team-high eight rebounds to go with her six assists and six points.
The Warriors held Holmlund to three points in the second half to contain her to 19 points overall. UGF’s Leslie Saunders also had 19 points.
Picked to finish first in the conference, LCSC now stands at 11-3 on the year. Great Falls drops to 6-10.
The win over the Argos marks the sixteenth straight regular season conference game the Warriors have won on the road. As a visitor, the Warriors haven’t lost a regular season conference game since they lost to Montana State University-Northern on February 17, 2006.
LCSC’s next stop is Havre, Mont. to take on MSU-Northern on Saturday at 5 p.m. (PSD).