Griz defeat LCSC 77-58 in exhibition game
MISSOULA, Mont. – Senior All-American Jasmine Stohr scored a game-high 16 points, but the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team had a rough night and suffered a 77-58 exhibition loss to the University of Montana on Wednesday.
The Warriors, ranked No. 5 in the NAIA preseason poll, had their hands full with the Grizzlies, an NCAA Division I school from the Big Sky Conference. Montana, which returns three starters from last year’s Big Sky Tournament champion and NCAA qualifying team, used a couple of big spurts to take control of the game. The Grizzlies finished fourth in the Big Sky during the regular season last year, but then won the conference tournament to qualify for the NCAA Tournament. The Griz lost to UCLA 55-47 in the opening round.
“We didn’t play very well. We played well below our potential,” said a disappointed LCSC coach Brian Orr. “Montana played well and shot the ball extremely well, but some of that was because of our defense. Our transition defense wasn’t good.”
Montana has never lost an exhibition game on its home court in the 33 years Robin Selvig has been coach.
“Montana played like champions and we didn’t play to our potential like I know we can,” Orr said. “But we learned a lot of things about our team tonight. This is a game against a team that is hard to replicate on our schedule so it’s a real positive learning experience.”
Stohr and the Warriors had trouble solving Montana’s defense. The 6-foot senior from Yakima was just 4-of-17 from the field, but did hit 7-of-8 free throws. She scored eight points in each half to lead a fairly balanced Warrior attack.
“They defended the heck out of us,” Orr said. “Every catch, there was someone in our face. They are a strong team and played like champions.”
Senior guard Tasha Bishop added 12 points on 4-of-6 shooting from the 3-point line, while senior post Kirsi Voshell, a first-team all-Frontier Conference performer last year, added 10 points on 4-of-10 shooting. Senior Alyssa Fierro added 10 rebounds, two blocks and four points, while freshman point guard Brittaney Niebergall had seven points, three steals, two assists, and no turnovers in her Warrior debut.
Orr said he particularly liked the play of two freshmen, Niebergall and Tanis Fuller of Lewiston. Niebergall played 26 minutes without a turnover, while Fuller grabbed nine rebounds and had six points. He also praised Bishop’s shooting in the second half.
For the game, the Warriors hit 20-of-62 shots from the field for 32.3 percent. Included in that mark was a 6-of-20 showing at the 3-point line for 30 percent. LCSC hit 75 percent at the free-throw line with a 12-of-16 effort.
The Warrior defense held Montana to 25-of-63 shooting for 39.7 percent, and 7-of-18 at the 3-point line for 38.9 percent. The Griz were 20-of-25 at the foul line, held a small 45-41 rebounding edge, and also forced 17 LC turnovers. Montana had 12 turnovers.
The Grizzlies also had a balanced attack with four players in double figures. Maggie Rickman led the way with 15 points, while Kelli Cole and Alyssa Smith had 14 each. Montana’s bench outscoring LCSC’s bench 44-9.
LCSC held its only lead at 2-0 on a bucket by Fierro, but Montana scored the next eight points. The lead went to double digits before LCSC cut the margin to 29-22 with 4:10 left in the opening half. That’s when Montana was able to go on a 15-2 run and eventually grab a 44-28 halftime lead.
In the second half, the lead remained in the upper teens before the Griz went on a small run for their largest lead of the game at 69-45 with 6:01 remaining. Bishop hit a pair of 3-pointers down the stretch to help LCSC cut the margin to 17.
The Warriors will kick off the regular season on Saturday at 2 p.m. against Warner Pacific at the LCSC Activity Center. It’s the first of playing on three consecutive days. The Warrior women then face Washington State on Sunday at 1 p.m. in Pullman in an exhibition contest, and then play host to Walla Walla University in a regular-season contest Monday at 5:30 p.m.
The Montana and WSU contests are LCSC’s two exhibition games for the season.