Warriors stifle Griffins with defense; move into tie for first in FC
LEWISTON, Idaho – The Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team brought the powerful offense of Westminster College to a screeching halt in the second half and came away with its biggest victory so far this season on Saturday night. In front of a season-high 1,571 fans, the Warriors defeated the Griffins by a score of 56-43 and now hold a share of first-place in the Frontier Conference standings.
Up against an opponent that is ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in field goal percentage and which has blown away every conference foe it has faced so far, the Warriors knew they had to find a way to break the Griffins’ rhythm—and they did just that.
A first half that saw the Warriors’ offense carried by 14 points from Kirsi Voshell and the Griffins’ offense carried by 10 points from McKenzie Jessop ended with the score knotted at 26-26. In the second half, the game continued at a low-scoring pace and with 12:33 left on the clock the Warriors clung to a 37-36 lead. It was at this point that LCSC’s defense, up against a team that leads the conference with 80.4 points per game, took it to another level.
Utilizing eight steals, two blocks, and a whole lot of hustle the Warriors kept Westminster from making a field goal from the 12:33 to the 1:38 mark.
The win means the Warriors, which were ranked No. 11 in the most recent NAIA poll, improve to 20-3 overall and 6-1 in conference play. The Griffins, ranked No. 14 in the NAIA and who came into the game alone atop the conference standings, now are at 17-5 and 6-1.
After going 14-0 in conference play last season, the Griffins’ streak of 20-straight regular season conference wins comes to an end.
What Voshell did on offense for LCSC in the first half Jasmine Stohr matched in the second half. Stohr scored all of her game-high 19 points in the second half on 6-of-10 shooting from the field and 2-of-3 shooting from behind the arc. Voshell finished with 14 points and nine rebounds, while fellow post Alyssa Fierro added seven points and a game-high 11 rebounds. Stohr and Kenna Reiter had three steals apiece to help drive LCSC’s total to nine steals on the night.
Relying on defense to make the difference, the Warriors shot only slightly better than Westminster, finishing with a 33.3 percent clip up against a 30.6 mark for the Griffins.
Westminster was led in scoring by Jessop who finished with 12 points and five rebounds, and Nicole Yazzie who had 10 points, four rebounds, and four assists.
Both teams committed 17 turnovers, but LCSC held a 46-31 rebounding advantage and a 14-2 lead in second chance points. Neither team did a particularly good job of shooting free throws, but the Warriors were benefitted by a lot more attempts. LCSC was 19-of-32 at the foul line, while Westminster was 9-of-13.
After playing five of its seven games at home during the first half of the conference season, LCSC will play the majority of its remaining conference games on the road. Next week the Warriors will travel to Montana State University-Northern on Friday and then head to the University of Great Falls on Saturday.