No. 11 Warriors fall to No. 9 Westminster in overtime 65-62
LEWISTON, Idaho – The Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team was 30 seconds away from gaining sole possession of first place in the Frontier Conference on Saturday night. However, Michelle Pace gathered an offensive rebound and hit a shot under the basket to send the game into overtime. In overtime, the Warriors again put themselves in a position to win but missed a couple of chances and fell by a final score of 65-62.
The win means that Westminster, now 10-2 in league and 23-5 overall, is on top in the standings with LCSC holding second at 9-3 and 23-4. Both teams will play Great Falls and MSU-Northern on the road to close out the regular season next week.
The Warriors will need to win both games and hope for Westminster to get upset to have any shot at the regular season title. One mark in the Warriors’ favor is that they had lopsided victories over both opponents earlier in the year, while Westminster, on the other hand, defeated MSU-Northern handily but had a narrow overtime win against Great Falls.
While there may be a small silver lining in the upcoming schedule, there was no silver lining big enough to sooth the disappointment felt by the Warriors on Saturday.
Playing an opponent that defeated them 88-59 earlier in the season, LCSC did a great job of hanging with the fast-paced offense and scrappy defense of the Griffins. The Warriors led 33-30 at halftime, and even held a lead of 52-45 with eight minutes left.
The Griffins utilized their fast-break offense and stormed back into the game to hold a 56-53 edge with 4:31 remaining.
Inside buckets by Kirsi Voshell and Kenna Reiter and then a free throw from Alyssa Fierro handed LCSC a 58-56 lead with just under two minutes to go. The ball then changed hands a couple times until Westminster ended up with the ball and 30 seconds left on the clock.
Coming out of a timeout, Westminster attempted a 3-pointer off of the in-bounds pass. The shot grazed the rim and landed right in the hands of Pace under the basket who quickly banked the shot up off the backboard to tie the game.
In overtime, Angela Fales scored the first points with a 3-pointer to make the score 61-58. The Warriors answered with back-to-back buckets thanks to a steal by Reiter to regain the lead with 2:32 on the clock.
In the final two minutes, the Warriors committed a turnover and went 0-for-2 on 3-point attempts, while Westminster was fouled twice and made all four attempts at the foul line to seal the deal.
After shooting 28.6 percent from the field the first time they played them, the Warriors shot 33.3 percent against the Griffins on Saturday, but the improvement was not quite enough to keep up with Westminster which shot 37.9 percent overall.
A big difference in the game was the outside where Westminster, ranked No. 9 in the NAIA, made 7-of-27 attempts, while the No. 11-ranked Warriors made just 1-of-13.
On the inside, Westminster, despite a definite height disadvantage, did a good job of keeping up with LC. The Griffins had 39 rebounds to LCSC’s 42, and trailed only 24-22 in points scored in the paint.
Led by Michelle Pace, Nicole Yazzie, and Jenteal Jackson, Westminster had a 13-8 advantage in fast break points. Pace finished with 17 points and eight rebounds, Yazzie had 15 points and two boards, and Jackson had 13 points, four assists, and three steals.
The Warriors countered with a career night from Alyssa Fierro. The 6-foot-2 junior tied two career highs with 20 points and 14 rebounds, and also came up with five blocks.
Voshell added nine points and 11 rebounds; Jasmine Stohr had 12 points, five rebounds, and three steals; and Kenna Reiter had eight points, five assists, and five steals.
LCSC trailed 12-11 in steals, yet committed only 19 turnovers to Westminster’s 23.
The loss snaps the Warriors’ six-game winning streak, and also snaps their 15 game win streak at home which dated back to Feb. 11 of last year.