Warriors fall to WSU by six in exhibition
PULLMAN, Wash. – Despite a fast start that saw the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team lead for the first 10 minutes of the game, the Warriors just couldn’t finish the deal and fell to Washington State University of the Pacific-12 Conference 59-53 in an exhibition game at Beasley Coliseum on Sunday afternoon.
The Warriors led by as much as six in the early going, but an 11-0 run during a three-minute stretch of the opening half gave the Cougars the lead for good at 20-15.
LCSC, ranked No. 5 in the NAIA, hung tough with the NCAA Division I Cougars and cut the margin to two early in the second half. WSU stretched the lead to 11 twice, the final time at 51-40 with 7:48 left, but the Warriors cut the lead to three at 56-53 with 1:42 left on a pair of free throws by senior Tasha Bishop.
Ireti Amojo gave the Cougars some breathing room with a 3-pointer with 1:31 remaining, which turned out to be the last points of the game.
“We are disappointed because we didn’t finish the deal,” LCSC coach Brian Orr said. “We had a chance to win but kind of shot ourselves in the foot. But this is a great learning experience and we will get better from this one.”
Defense was the name of the game for both teams as both squads shot less than 34 percent from the field and combined for 42 turnovers.
“One of the best things about this game is that we came out real strong and had a six-point lead early,” Orr said. “We started out really strong but they are a good team. Their defense took us out of all of our stuff. The really pressured the basketball.”
The Warriors wound up with 25 turnovers in the contest and hit 16-of-51 shots for 31.4 percent. Included in the mark was a 7-of-20 mark at the 3-point line for 35 percent.
“They harassed the basketball and their defense took us out of what we wanted to do,” Orr said. “We had a lot of people step up at given times, but they played well defensively.”
Still, LCSC’s defense played well as the Cougars were only 20-of-60 from the field for 33.3 percent and 5-of-18 at the 3-point line for 27.8 percent. WSU also had 17 turnovers.
“We did a good job of stopping dribble penetration, which is who they are,” Orr said. “They attack, but whether we were in zone or man, we had quick help and contested their shots.”
Orr said he was disappointed to see WSU end up with 14 offensive rebounds, but said he was pleased with the way the Warriors battled.
“I thought our players really worked hard to battle for the rebounds,” he said. “Every time a shot went up there was a battle for the rebound on both ends. I like that we showed some toughness there at times.”
True freshman point guard Brittaney Niebergall led LCSC with 14 points, six steals and four assists. She also had five rebounds and was 4-of-6 from the 3-point line. Orr also credited her for taking care of the basketball because she had only four turnovers despite facing constant pressure. For the season, Niebergall has only five turnovers in three games, two of which were against NCAA Division I teams.
Senior Jasmine Stohr added 12 points for the Warriors, while Kelli Rice hit a couple of big 3-pointers and finished with seven points. Alyssa Fierro grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, but WSU won the battle of the boards 41-39.
“Again, we had a lot of people step up at give times for us,” Orr said. “We definitely had a chance. We just needed a couple more possessions to go our way.”
Jazmine Perkins led WSU with 12 points and four steals.
The Warriors will play a game for the third straight day and for the fourth time in five days on Monday when they play host to Walla Walla University. LCSC is 1-0 on the season and is finished with exhibition games. Walla Walla will be playing in its season opener.
Tipoff is set for 5:30 p.m. at the LCSC Activity Center. The Warrior women’s team will play most of their home games at 5:30 p.m. this season.