Defense paves way in LC's 71-45 win
Tournament MVP Jasmine Stohr scored a game-high 19 points, but it was the Lewis-Clark State College defense that was the star of the day in the Warriors’ 71-45 win over the University of Great Falls in the final game of the Warrior Invitational women’s basketball tournament at the LCSC Activity Center on Sunday.
The Warriors forced 23 turnovers and held Great Falls to just 21.6 percent shooting from the field to finish the three-team round-robin tournament at 2-0. Great Falls went 1-1, while Warner Pacific went 0-2.
LCSC, ranked No. 5 in the NAIA, improved to 11-0 with the win in the non-conference game, while Great Falls is now 1-6. The two teams will meet twice again this season, both in Frontier Conference play.
The 11-0 start is the program’s best since the 1999-2000 season when the Warriors won their first 26 games before losing on a half-court shot at the buzzer against Montana Western in the conference tournament.
Stohr, a 6-foot junior guard/forward, finished the game with nine rebounds, three assists, two steals and a blocked shot. For the tournament she averaged 19.5 points per game, 6.5 rebounds, four assists, and two steals. She was joined on the all-tournament team by teammate Kirsi Voshell, a 6-2 junior post. Voshell finished with seven points, 10 rebounds, two blocks and an assist.
Also named to the all-tournament team were Kezia Ford and Marissa Skogen of Great Falls, and Cameryn Calhoun and Mirana Holenstein of Warner Pacific.
Great Falls got off to a great start and scored nine straight points for a 9-2 lead barely three minutes into the game. Over the next 37 minutes, however, the Argos managed only 36 points against the Warriors’ pressure defense.
“This is one of those games we came in with the mindset that we are going to use our whole bench because of our pressure schemes,” LCSC coach Brian Orr said. “I think our defense was the key. We didn’t give them any open looks at the basket.”
After falling behind 9-2, the Warriors went on a 28-7 run over the next 11 minutes to open up a 30-16 lead. Stohr had 12 of her points in the opening half to help the Warriors take control because UFG could never cut LCSC’s lead to single digits the rest of the way. The Warriors led 34-19 at halftime and its largest lead turned out to be the final score.
Great Falls finished the game just 12-of-56 from the field for 21.4 percent. The Argos hit just 20.8 percent in the first half and 21.9 percent in the second half. Eight of UGF’s 12 field goals were 3-pointers as inside the 3-point line, the Argos were just 4-of-36 from the field.
LCSC also struggled inside the arc and had its problems at the foul line in the first half. The Warriors finished the game 23-of-65 from the field for 35.4 percent, but were 7-of-14 from the 3-point line (16-of-51 inside it). LCSC also was 18-of-25 at the foul line, but went 16-of-18 in the second half after going 2-of-7 in the opening 20 minutes.
“When the ball goes through the hole, everything looks better,” Orr said. “We moved the ball well and took good shots, but the ball just didn’t drop for us. But I felt good about the way we were playing because of our defense.”
Voshell added seven points and a game-high 10 rebounds, while Jenni Noon had 10 points off the bench. Every Warrior scored at least two points in the game and all but one had t least one rebound.
Ford led Great Falls with nine points and seven rebounds, while Skogen had eight points and eight boards.
The Warriors will now be on the road for their next four games through the holidays. LCSC will play in Kirkland on Friday against Northwest University at 5:30 p.m., and then head to California for three games on Dec. 28-30 against Azusa Pacific, Hope International, and The Masters.