LCSC sees successful season come to an end
JACKSON, Tenn. - Freed-Hardeman's big trio of Meribeth Boehler, Whitney Johnson, and Natalie Shumpert blew up and scored all but 12 of the Lions' points on Friday night. The Lewis-Clark State College women's basketball team just blew up, period.
Scoring a season-low 14 points in the first half and getting worked on the boards by a smaller Freed-Hardeman squad, the Warriors saw their successful season come to an end with an 71-50 loss to the Lions in the Sweet 16 round of the NAIA National Tournament at Oman Arena on Friday night.
LCSC winds up at 29-5, the third time in four years it has finished with 29 wins, which is the third highest total in a season in program history. The Warriors also won their fourth straight Frontier Conference Tournament title this season and was ranked No. 10 in the final NAIA poll.
LCSC, however, didn't resemble its usual juggernaut self on Friday. The Warriors entered Friday on a six-game win streak and winners of 12 of their last 13 games. LCSC also was averaging 73.1 points per game, but didn't score its 20th point until the 13:55 mark of the second half, more than 24 minutes into the game.
LCSC's previous first-half low was 20 points in a 74-47 loss to Northwest University in mid-December. Only one LCSC player, Alyssa Fierro with four, had more than two points in the opening 20 minutes.
The key stretch came in the final 9:57 of the first half when LCSC only scored four points. That allowed Freed-Hardeman, 26-8 overall, to turn a 17-10 advantage into a 31-14 halftime lead.
The Warriors never got closer than 17 the rest of the way as the Lions led by as much as 29, 64-35, in the second half.
Johnson, Shumpert and Boehler combined for 35 of the Lions' 40 second-half points. Johnson finished with 25 points, while Shumpert and Boehler finished with 17 each. Boehler, the WBCA NAIA Player of the Year, also had 13 rebounds.
Despite giving up a size advantage and having little bench play to rely on, Freed-Hardeman was able to outwork the Warriors. The Lions had a 26-15 rebounding advantage in the first half, including 12 offensive boards. That helped Freed-Hardeman to a 10-2 advantage in second chance points. Freed-Hardeman also was able to go 9-of-9 at the foul line in the opening 20 minutes while LCSC was 0-of-2 from the foul line and shot just 30 percent from the field.
Freed-Hardeman outrebounded LCSC 49-22 in the contest and dominated the boards so much that the Lions had as many offensive rebounds and LCSC had total rebounds.
To make matters worse for LCSC, All-American junior guard Jasmine Stohr spent a good portion of the game on the bench in foul trouble and fouled out with nearly nine minutes left. Stohr finished with a season-low five points, way below her average of 18.5 per game. It's only the second time this season that Stohr was held to less than 10 points.
Still, Stohr enjoyed a remarkable season. She scored 614 points, the third highest single-season total and set records for most free throws made (155) and attempted (205) in a season. She also finished ninth in field goals made (213) and eighth in steals (89).
Kenna Reiter led LCSC with 12 points, while Kirsi Voshell added nine. The two combined for 19 second-half points.
For the game, LCSC finished 18-of-52 from the field for 34.6 percent, including 4-of-17 from the 3-point line (23.53 percent). The Warriors also made 10-of-14 free throws.
Freed-Hardeman, which had only five players score in the game, finished 23-of-56 from the field for 41.1 percent. At the 3-point line, the Lions were 2-of-13 and at the foul line, Freed-Hardeman finished 23-of-28.
This was LCSC's 15th trip in the last 16 years to the national tournament, all of which have been held in Jackson, Tenn. The NAIA will announce a new site for the 2012 tournament next week.
The Warriors lose four seniors from the squad - Reiter, Lauren Daling, Madison Mendezona, and Nichole Miller.
Freed-Hardeman advances to Saturday's quarterfinal round against Campbellsville University at 6 p.m.