Free throws squeak Warriors by Whitman 65-61
WALLA WALLA, Wash. – The Warriors didn’t make many of their free throws against Whitman College on Tuesday night—but they made them when they counted most. Trailing by one with two minutes left in regulation, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team went 8-for-8 at the foul line in the last minute and a half to hold off the Missionaries 65-61.
“We survived,” said LCSC head coach Brian Orr. “This was one of those games where at this point in the season, on the road, and after a really tough schedule, we’re just happy we got the win.”
After LCSC led by as many as eight midway through the second half, the Missionaries snuck their way back into the game and with a 3-pointer by Jenele Peterson led 58-57 with 2:04 left in the game.
Despite making just 3-of-10 free throws to start the second half, the Warriors’ answer came in the form of a poised and perfect performance at the foul line.
Jasmine Stohr got the shooting trend started by nailing both her foul shots to move the scored to 59-58 with 1:27 left.
Thirty second later, Alyssa Fierro was fouled and sunk both her throws to make it 61-58. This was followed by Tasha Bishop who hit two more shots at the line to extend the lead to 63-58.
Just when the Warriors thought they were safe though, Peterson hit another three to make it 63-61 with six seconds left on the clock.
The Missionaries were then forced to foul and hope the Warriors would return to their cold-free-throw-shooting ways, but LCSC’s Brittaney Neibergall stepped to the line and hit both attempts to seal the deal at 65-61.
“Down the stretch the way we stepped up and knocked free throws down was huge,” said Orr. “We found a way to win and that’s a quality that all good teams have to have.”
Beyond having trouble at the foul line, the Warriors also struggled controlling the basketball against the Missionaries’ active guards and finished with 19 turnovers.
Where the Warriors did have success was in rebounding as the team ended up with a 52-36 advantage in rebounding, including a 16-11 edge in offensive boards.
Five Warriors finished with five or more rebounds in the game including Fierro who led with 10. Bishop and Kirsi Voshell added eight apiece, Stohr had seven, and Tanis Fuller had five.
In scoring, Stohr carried a lot of the load for the Warriors as she dropped in 21 points and was 7-of-8 at the foul line. Stohr’s effort was matched on the opposite side of the court by Whitman’s Peterson who also had 21 points and was 2-of-6 from 3-point territory.
The Warriors outshot Whitman 39.7 percent to 32.8 percent as neither team fared too well from the outside. LCSC was 2-of-8 and Whitman was 5-of-22 from behind the arc.
“Whitman is tough,” said head coach Brian Orr. “Their guard play is tremendous, and I thought their defense was outstanding. We struggled to make shots from the perimeter, but they had hands in our faces so you have to credit them.”
Besides Stohr and Peterson no other players scored in double digits. Voshell came close as she collected nine points to go with a steal and a block. Fierro and Niebergall had seven points apiece.
The win means the Warriors, ranked No. 5 in the NAIA, improve to 5-0 on the season, while Whitman, an NCAA Division III program, drops to 0-1.
“They’re a quality team and well coached,” said Orr of Whitman. “They’re going to compete for the league championship—no doubt.”
After three straight games on the road, the Warriors look forward to hosting the Greg Jose/Twin Rivers Physical Therapy Classic on Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, LCSC will face Concordia at 5:30 p.m., and Pacific Union and Walla Walla will face off at 7:30 p.m.
On Sunday, fans should note that the original tournament schedule has been changed. Originally scheduled to play at 3 p.m., the Warriors will now play Pacific Union at 1 p.m., and Concordia and Walla Walla will follow at 3 p.m.