It won’t quite be like looking in a mirror the first thing in the morning, but it will be close for the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team.
The Warriors learned Wednesday afternoon that they will play Biola University in the opening round of the 32-team NAIA National Tournament next Wednesday at 10 a.m. PDT at Oman Arena in Jackson, Tenn. The contest will feature two tough defensive-minded teams and it will be the third of eight games that day.
Biola finished fourth in the Golden State Athletic Conference and is 20-11 overall. The Eagles are ranked No. 21 in the country and lost in the semifinals of its conference tournament to eventual champion Vanguard.
Lewis-Clark State is coming off its third straight Frontier Conference Tournament title, but defeating Westminster by 20 points, 80-60 in the championship game on the road, apparently didn’t sway the selection committee for the national tournament. That’s because Westminster, which lost two of three games against LCSC this season, was given a No. 3 seed in its bracket, while LCSC was seeded fourth in its bracket. Biola received a fifth seed.
LCSC is 28-5 overall and is ranked No. 13 in the final NAIA poll. This is LCSC’s 14th trip to the national tournament in the last 15 years and the 28 wins ties it for fourth on the single-season wins list.
Both LCSC and Biola rely heavily on their defenses for success. Biola ranks third in the NAIA in both rebounds per game (45) and rebounding margin (9.9) and also is No. 13 in block shots and No. 15 in field goal percentage defense. The Warriors are No. 24 in rebounding margin, but are sixth in block shots, seventh in field goal percentage defense, and seventh in scoring margin.
Both teams feature strong post play. The Eagles are led by 5-foot-11 junior forward Jessilyn Conicelli, who earned first-team all-GSAC honors this season. Conicelli is averaging a double-double this season at 16.4 points and 10.4 rebounds per game. She’s also shooting 51.9 percent from the field. Jennifer French, a 5-10 junior forward, is at nearly 13 points and 6.0 rebounds per game, while 6-4 junior center Christina Barclay is at 9.8 points and 6.7 rebounds. She also has recorded 62 of the team’s 129 blocks this season.
The Warriors’ balanced attack also features strong post play from sophomores Alyssa Fierro, 6-2, and Kirsi Voshell, 6-3. Fierro is at 10.6 points and 7.4 rebounds per game, while Voshell is at 9.6 points and 7.7 boards. Voshell also has the single-season blocked shots record with 61 this season, while Fierro has 50. LCSC has 172 blocked shots this season, a single-season mark.
Where the difference between Biola and LCSC seems to lie, at least statistically, is in the guard play. Biola is averaging 20 turnovers a game and will likely see various presses from the Warriors, who use turnovers to generate fastbreak opportunities. LCSC ranks 19th in the NAIA in turnover margin and 16th in assist/turnover ratio.
Sophomore Jasmine Stohr, who was named to the Frontier Conference’s First Team along with Fierro earlier this week, leads LCSC at 15.4 points per game and had a phenomenal outing with 28 points in the championship game. Guard Nikki DePeel, the lone senior on the Warrior team, is at 10.5 points per game, while Kenna Reiter is at 7.3 points and leads the team in both assists and steals.
On the season, Biola shot 42.6 percent from the field and held opponents to 36.4 percent. LCSC shot 44.9 percent and held the opposition to 35.1 percent. Both teams were fairly even from the 3-point line as LCSC is shooting 34.4 percent, while Biola is at 32.9 percent.
Biola also averaged 71.8 points per game and held opponents to 65.1, while LCSC averaged 73.1 points and held the opposition to 54.8.
The two teams have two opponents in common, but it’s hard to draw comparisons. LCSC defeated Azusa Pacific twice early in the season by 11 and three points, but Azusa was without one of its best players. Biola lost to Azusa during league play by 11 and 14 points. A night after defeating Azusa on the road for a big win, the Warriors had one of their worst performances of the season and fell by two points to California Baptist, which tied for ninth in the GSAC and failed to make the eight-team conference tournament. Biola beat Cal Baptist by seven and 22 points during league play.
Both teams have been playing well as of late. Biola has won seven of nine contests, and in its two losses, it fell by one point in overtime on the road and then lost to Vanguard by 10 in the conference tournament semifinals. Vanguard wound up No. 3 in the final NAIA poll and drew one of four No. 1 seeds.
LCSC has won 11 of its last 13 games and won its three conference tournament games by an average of 20.3 points. The Warriors defeated Montana Tech by 14 and Westminster by 20, and both will join LCSC as FC representatives at the national tournament.
The LCSC-Biola winner will likely face a tough task in the second round in Oklahoma City, which received one of the four No. 1 seeds. Oklahoma City, 29-3, meets Shorter of Georgia following the LCSC-Biola game at 11:45 Wednesday. The second-round contest will be held Friday, March 19, at 8:45 a.m. PDT.
All of the games at the national tournament will be video-streamed by NeuLion, the parent company of JumpTV. An entire tournament package is $24.95, while a single day purchase is $9.95. For more information on the video stream, visit
The tournament bracket can be found at
All of LCSC’s games will be broadcast live by KOZE and Brian Danner at both 950-AM on the radio and www.koze-sports.com on the Internet.