LCSC's defense cages Battlin' Bears 69-43
LEWISTON, Idaho – Holding Rocky Mountain scoreless for an 11-minute stretch of the first half was only the start. The Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team also held the Battlin’ Bears to just 17.6 percent shooting from the field and forced 32 turnovers on Friday night at the LCSC Activity Center.
What that all meant was a 69-43 win for the Warriors and a trip to their eighth Frontier Conference Tournament championship game in the past 10 years. LCSC, 22-7, will play for the title on Monday night when it travels to Salt Lake City to meet top seed Westminster at 6 p.m., PDT. The winner of that game will earn an automatic berth to the national tournament later this month in Jackson, Tenn.
The Warriors advanced to the title game by putting the clamps on Rocky Mountain throughout the contest. They held the Bears to just 4-of-32 shooting inside the arc (12.5 percent) and also blocked 10 shots.
“I thought it was our best defensive effort of the season,” LCSC coach Brian Orr said. “We played great defense tonight.”
This was the fourth time this season the two teams have played and LCSC won three. In the previous three games, Rocky Mountain’s 6-foot-4 senior center Jaynie Rayback averaged 23 points. She had 13 on Friday, along with 10 rebounds, but was only 3-of-15 from the field. She was 7-of-9 at the foul line and scored 10 of her 13 in the second half.
With Rayback’s limited presence in the middle, the Warriors outscored the Bears 34-6 in the paint.
Rocky Mountain actually led twice early in the game, the second coming on Rayback’s only field goal on the first half at the 14:55 mark to put the Bears ahead 7-5.
RMC, however, failed to score on its next 21 possessions as it committed 10 turnovers and missed 11 shots, two of which were blocked. It wasn’t until Rayback hit a free throw at the 3:56 mark, a span of 10:59, that the Bears were able to end the streak. A 3-pointer by Molly Schenderline at the 2:28 mark was RMC’s next field goal, a span of nearly 12½ minutes between buckets.
Still, despite all of its problems, Rocky Mountain only trailed 19-11 after Schenderline’s 3-pointer. That’s because LCSC also was having problems of its own on offense, shooting just 27.6 percent from the field in the opening half. LCSC managed to take a 25-13 lead into intermission.
Freshman Jasmine Stohr scored LCSC’s first 12 points of the second half, but Rocky was still hanging tough at 37-30 with 12:49 left. Rocky, however, went nearly seven minutes without a field goal in the second half and the Warriors were finally able to break the game open, outscoring RMC 26-13 over the final 10 minutes.
Rocky finished the game 9-of-51 from the field for 17.6 percent. RMC scored almost half of its points at the foul line where it was 20-of-23.
The Warriors finished 23-of-59 for 39 percent from the field, but were 15-of-30 for 50 percent in the second half. LCSC also was 22-of-29 at the charity stripe.
Stohr led all scores with 20 points as she finished 7-of-13 from the field. She also had five of the team’s 17 steals. Nikki DePeel added 13 points, while Alyssa Fierro had eight rebounds, six blocked shots and four steals to go along with six points.
Every player scored for LCSC in the game and its bench outscored Rocky’s bench 31-2 in the contest.
Liz Lewis had a team-high 14 points for the Bears.
LCSC has lost both meetings this season to Westminster, which is undefeated against Frontier Conference teams. Westminster won 101-70 in Salt Lake and 81-66 in Lewiston.