Warriors can't contain top-seeded OCU; ousted from tournament
JACKSON, Tenn. – The stars must not have been aligned right for the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team on Friday–or perhaps the Stars were aligned too right. Whatever the case, the Warriors met what seemed to be as true a No. 1 seed as possible and couldn’t keep pace. Oklahoma City University cruised to a 87-59 win to bring LCSC’s season to an end in the second round of the NAIA National Tournament.
Starr Fairbanks led an OCU effort that outdid the fourth-seeded Warriors in multiple aspects of the game. The Stars outshot LC 44.3 to 32.2 percent, had a 42-36 advantage in rebounds, and committed 20 turnovers to the Warriors’ 25. Fairbanks finished with a game-high 25 points, including 19 in the first half.
The loss ends LCSC’s 2009-10 campaign at 29-6, and ends it in a way that is not unfamiliar. The Warriors, who were making their 14th trip to nationals in the last 15 years, have now faced and fallen to the Stars during the postseason on four occasions. LCSC was eliminated by the stars in 1999, 2001, and 2005.
Oklahoma City, which now boasts a 25-game winning streak and a 31-3 record, has had nine 30-win season in 12 years and has made 13 straight trips to nationals. OCU won national championships in 1988, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2002 and advanced to the finals in 2003, 2004 and 2005. The Stars will square off against Campbellsville in the quarterfinals on Saturday.
Jasmine Stohr scored 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting from the field and a 8-for-9 mark from the foul line to try to keep her team in the game, but OCU managed to gain a commanding lead early on and build on it in the second half.
The lead stayed around five until OCU made a push in the last 10 minutes of the first half. Behind the attack of Fairbanks, the Stars fought to a 21-12 lead with 5:55 left on the clock, and later went on a 9-0 run to gain a 36-19 advantage. Thanks to a couple baskets from Tasha Bishop and a buzzer beater by Stohr, LCSC managed to gain a little bit of ground back in the final minutes, and at the half the score was 38-25.
The Stars started the second half with a seven-point run and kept adding on from there. They led by as many as 32 in the second half.
Oklahoma City, which has not lost a game since Dec. 18, did a lot of its damage on the inside. OCU outscored the Warriors 42-28 in the paint. Backup center K.J. Johnson collected 12 points and nine rebounds during her time in for Fairbanks who collected seven rebounds and was 9-of-13 from the field 7-of-8 at the foul line.
Losing the battle in the paint, LCSC would have been benefited by an outside game but failed to hit a 3-pointer for only the second time this season. The Warriors were 0-for-12 from behind the arc.
Both teams shot well at the foul line but OCU was particularly efficient. LCSC made 21-of-25 foul shots (84 percent), while the Stars made 29-of-32 (90.6 percent).
Chontaye Walter and Laura Duncan were perfect at the charity stripe and finished with 13 and 10 points, respectively. Walter was 6-of-6 and Duncan was 4-of-4. Duncan also was 3-of-6 from long range.
Bishop and Kirsi Voshell collected eight points apiece, Ashley Honeycutt had seven, and Kenna Reiter and Alyssa Fierro both had six. Voshell led with three steals and two blocks.
LCSC’s 29 wins this season ranks as tied for third most in program history. The Warriors will lose only one senior from this year’s squad, Nikki DePeel.