Reiter, Warriors take down Eagles 64-49 at nationals
JACKSON, Tenn. – Despite being listed as day-to-day after injuring her ankle in the Frontier Conference title game last week, Kenna Reiter was the driving force behind the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team’s win over Biola University in the opening round of the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament on Wednesday. The Warriors grounded the Eagles 64-49 to advance to the second round.
The Warriors, listed as the No. 4 seed in their quarter of the bracket, came into the game with an 0-6 record against No. 5-seeded Biola, but played as if they have had the Eagles’ figured out for years. LCSC held Biola’s top scorer to just five points, and outshot the California school 42.6 to 27.9 percent from the field.
Reiter, a junior from Central Point, Ore., finished with a game-high 13 points on 6-of-8 shooting but made an even bigger difference on the defensive end as she came up with three steals and six rebounds and helped her team outscore Biola 10-3 in fast break points.
The win lifts LCSC, which was ranked No. 13 in the final NAIA poll, to 29-5. This is LCSC’s 14th trip to the national tournament in the last 15 years and the 10th time that they have advanced past the first round. The 29 wins this season ties for third most in program history.
The Warriors will have their hands full in the second round as the bracket pits them against No. 6 Oklahoma City University—a No. 1 seed in its quarter of the bracket. Oklahoma City, 30-3 overall, powered past Shorter College (Ga.) 71-49 on Wednesday.
The Warriors and the Stars will enjoy a day off before tipping off at 8:45 a.m., pacific, on Friday.
LCSC’s penetrating, fast-paced offense help keep Biola in foul trouble the entire game. Jessilyn Conicelli, who averaged a team-leading 16.4 points and 10.3 rebounds during the regular season, was tabbed with two fouls early on which helped keep her scoreless by halftime. Conicelli helped her team back into the game with four points early in the second half, but her fourth foul at the 14:13 mark put her on the sideline again. The junior finally fouled out with 4:34 left in regulation. She collected 10 rebounds on the day, but shot just 1-for-9 in her 22 minutes on the floor.
Besides, Conicelli, Biola’s Charrise Reece, a 6-4 junior, also flirted with foul trouble and finished with four infractions which gave the Warriors a little extra breathing room around the basket.
Jasmine Stohr was LCSC’s only other player to score in double-digits as she dropped in 11 points and four rebounds. Alyssa Fierro added nine points, including a 3-pointer to open the game, and a team-high 10 rebounds. Ashley Honeycutt came off the bench to contribute nine points and four rebounds.
The Warriors outshot Biola from the field and had a 21-10 advantage in points scored at the foul line, but the Eagles were able to keep LC from running away early on by collecting offensive boards. Biola had 14 rebounds on the offensive end in the first half and trailed only 29-22 at halftime.
Led by 12 points and 10 rebound from Christian Barclay and 10 points and six rebounds from Reece, the No. 21-ranked Eagles went on a couple runs in the second half but got no closer than 39-36.
Thanks in part to the foul trouble of Conicelli and Reece, the Warriors held Biola to only four offensive rebounds in the second half and were able to widen the lead with more stiff defense, transition baskets, and a good shooting percentage. LCSC outscored Biola 20-8 in the paint in the second half, after being outscored 12-8 in the first.
LCSC shot 75 percent at the foul line with Stohr hitting 5-of-7, Nikki DePeel making 5-of-6, and Honeycutt going 3-for-3. Playing on her birthday, DePeel finished with seven points, an assist, and a steal.
The Eagles finish the season with a 20-12 overall record. Biola, which earned an at-large berth after claiming fourth in the competitive Golden State Athletic Conference, was making its fifth straight appearance in the national tournament after reaching the second round last season.