LCSC wins battle between Warriors 63-57
JACKSON, Tenn. – Led by 20 points from Jasmine Stohr, a double-double from Alyssa Fierro, and a 49-percent shooting percentage, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team downed Westmont College 63-57 in the opening round of the NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball Tournament on Thursday. The win means the Warriors will play in the second round, the NAIA’s Sweet 16, for the second year in a row.
Besides sharing the nickname Warriors, the two teams playing in the final game of the first round featured many similarities including a tall inside and a go-to scorer.
Westmont took a page out of LCSC’s playbook in the first half and used its size to rebound its way to a 16-10 lead in the first nine minutes. However, LCSC’s Jasmine Stohr and Tasha Bishop went on a shooting spree to score the team’s next 14 points and give LC a 24-20 lead with 5:52 on the clock.
The rest of the first half went back and forth with LCSC shooting a high percentage from the field and Westmont compensating with offensive rebounds and forced turnovers. The half ended with LCSC up 26-24. Westmont led 6-3 in offensive boards in the first half, and also committed just four turnovers to LC’s nine.
In the second half, Lewis-Clark State was able to create a little more separation thanks to continued good shooting, better ball control, and an increased presence inside thanks via Fierro who finished with 14 points and 10 rebounds.
Westmont, which was ranked No. 23 in the final NAIA poll and was given a six seed, scored the first two points of the second half to tie the game at 26, but this was as close as it would get as LCSC received big baskets from Lauren Daling, Kenna Reiter, and Fierro in the next few minutes to build a game-high lead of 43-33 with 14 minutes remaining.
Angel Blanco, who led Westmont in scoring and rebounding this season, scored multiple points down the stretch and finished with 17 in the game, but LCSC did a good job of hitting its free throws and keeping Westmont out of reach.
Stohr and Fierro were the only players to score in double-digits for LC though many players made big contributions including Bishop who finished with nine points and Reiter and Kirsi Voshell who had eight apiece. Voshell also had six rebounds.
Madison Mendezona and Stohr led LCSC, which is now 29-4, with four and three assists, respectively.
Lisa Peterson scored 12 points and had seven rebounds for Westmont. Blanco added six boards, and Katie Kittle had seven points and five rebounds.
Westmont, which shot 35.6-percent from the field in the game, ends its season at 20-10 overall.
Westmont made 11-of-13 attempts at the foul line, while Lewis-Clark State made just 7-of-13 but was helped by Stohr who nailed the team’s last four free throws of the game.
LCSC finished with a 35-33 advantage in rebounds and led 13-10 in turnovers.
In the second round on Friday, the Warriors, ranked No. 10 in the final poll and given a No. 3 seed in the tournament, will face second-seeded Freed-Hardeman University (Tenn.) which defeated Shorter University 78-62 on Thursday. The game will tipoff at 7:45 p.m., pacific.
Freed-Hardeman is making its 15th appearance at the national tournament, which is just one less than Lewis-Clark State.
Last season LCSC advanced to the second round only to be eliminated by Oklahoma City. The last time Lewis-Clark State made it past the second round was during the 2007-08 tournament when it was ousted in the quarterfinals by Union. The team’s best finish came in 2000-01 when it made the final four.