LCSC women come up short at nationals
JACKSON, Tenn. – Two scoring droughts roughly three minutes into each half hurt the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team as it suffered a 76-54 setback to the University of the Cumberlands during the opening round of the NAIA National Tournament on Thursday.
The Warriors, who finish the season at 23-8, took a 6-5 lead early on a bucket by senior Kim Preston with 17:19 left in the opening half. However, the Warriors went nearly five minutes without scoring again as the Patriots ran off 18 straight points for a 23-6 lead. Preston broke the long run with a 3-pointer.
Despite the troubles, the Warriors managed to fight back and cut the margin to 38-30 at halftime.
Unfortunately for LCSC, the second half was somewhat of a repeat of the first half as LCSC went scoreless from the 17:14 mark to 13:48 remaining, which allowed the Patriots to run off 11 straight points and to a 56-34 lead. The Warriors couldn’t get closer than 19 points the rest of the way.
Amber Neace, a 6-foot junior guard, gave the Warriors fits throughout the contest. She finished with a game-high 24 points and hit 5-of-11 3-pointers in the game to help Cumberlands go 11-of-23 from arc for 47.83 percent. That was a huge difference in the game as LCSC was only 3-of-14 from the 3-point line, 21.4 percent.
The Warriors didn’t have one of their better games shooting the ball. LCSC finished 22-of-63 from the field for 34.9 percent. LCSC’s outside touch was mostly off because 34 of the Warriors’ 54 points came in the paint.
Senior forward Sadie Short led the Warriors with 12 points, but was just 6-of-15 from the field. She also had seven rebounds.
Alyssa Fierro added 11 points for LCSC, while Nikki DePeel had nine and Preston 8. Freshman post Kirsi Voshell had 10 rebounds, while Fierro, Short and Kenna Reiter had seven rebounds apiece. LCSC actually had a 47-40 rebounding edge, including 18 offensive rebounds compared to 13 for Cumberlands, but the Patriots outscored LCSC 17-16 on second-chance points.
The Warriors also had 16 turnovers, compared to eight for the Patriots. Cumberlands also was able to convert LCSC’s turnovers into transition baskets and had 26 points off of LCSC turnovers, while the Warriors had six points off of Cumberland turnovers.
The 24 points in the second half by LCSC was a season low and the 54 points was the second-lowest total of the year.
Cumberlands will play in the second round on Friday at 6 p.m. against the winner of the Freed-Hardman and Wayland Baptist game, which was played later on Thursday.
The Warriors featured a young team this season with four freshmen among the nine healthy players at the national tournament. The Warriors lose two seniors from this squad, Short and Preston.