Warriors launch postseason push with 71-60 win over Skylights
LEWISTON, Idaho – Having won the past three Frontier Conference tournament titles, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team has been known to kick into high gear during the postseason. On Tuesday evening, however, the Warriors’ offense didn’t seem to have received that memo, but their defense certainly did and that’s what carried LCSC in the opening round of the conference tournament. The second-seeded Warriors downed No. 7 seed Montana State University-Northern by a final score of 71-60.
It was a night of scrappy defense, fast-paced action, and many missed opportunities—for both sides. Thankfully for the Warriors, when their offense wasn’t rolling they were able to fall back on their bench and offensive rebounding, both of which were huge for LC on Tuesday.
Non-starter Madison Mendezona scored all seven her points in the first half and was instrumental in how the Warriors were able to create a little bit of a lead by halftime.
LCSC, now 26-4, held just a two-point lead 11 minutes into the first half, but was able to extend the lead to 33-27 by the break thanks to key shots from Mendezona along with a couple 3-pointers from non-starter Tasha Bishop.
The No. 10-ranked Warriors had a 20-3 advantage in points from off the bench. Nichole Miller was also a big part of this effort as she finished with five points and six rebounds.
“Tonight we had some pretty good bench production, especially in the first half,” said LCSC head coach Brian Orr. “And I was really proud of our offensive boards in the second half.”
Lewis-Clark State needed a lot of offensive boards because, frankly, they missed quite a few shots. The Warriors shot 36.8 in the second half and went 1-for-9 from the outside, but they were benefitted from 14 offensive boards in the second half and 20 in the game.
Leading this effort was Kirsi Voshell and Alyssa Fierro who dominated on the inside. Voshell finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds for her seventh double-double of the year, and Fierro had eight points, a game-high 13 rebounds, and two blocks. Both players had six offensive boards.
LCSC led 32-18 in points in the paint and 14-6 in second chance points, and also had a 46-28 advantage in rebounds which helped it maintain a double-digit lead for the final seven minutes of the game. Its largest lead of 20 came with 2:09 left in regulation.
Overshadowing the Warriors’ production from the bench and their rebounding success was clearly the home team’s defensive pressure which caused problems for the Skylights all game long.
LCSC outshot MSU-Northern 42.4 percent to 37.3, but more importantly it was able to force a team with talented guards and passers into 15 turnovers.
Warrior guard Kenna Reiter finished with three steals to go with nine points and five assists.
Jordan Bruursema paced the Skylights with 14 points and five rebounds, while Courtney Blume and Taylor Keller had 12 points and three rebounds apiece. Laramie Schwenke, a quick-footed guard, had 10 points, seven boards, four assists, and four rebounds.
MSU-Northern ends the season at 13-18 overall.
With the win, LCSC advances to the semifinals to face Montana Tech. The third-seeded Orediggers won their opening round game against No. 6 Montana Western 90-83 on Tuesday. The LCSC-Tech showdown will be Friday at 7 p.m. at the LCSC Activity Center.
“I know we were able to defeat (Montana) Tech twice this season, but they’re a talented team and we can’t overlook them,” said Orr. “We have to come ready to play.”
As was the case on Tuesday, because it is the conference tournament, season passes will not be accepted on Friday. Ticket prices are $10 for reserved, $7 for general admission, and $5 for students and senior citizens.
Other conference tournament scores on Friday include Carroll’s 82-79 win over Rocky Mountain, and Westminster’s 67-57 victory against Great Falls. Westminster and Carroll will face off in Salt Lake City on Friday as well.