IRVINE, Calif. – Holding University of Concordia-Irvine to four field goals in the first half, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team rode its defense to a 68-55 victory over the Eagles on Saturday night.
The win was LCSC’s second over Concordia in the last eight days. The Warriors defeated the Eagles 76-55 in a tournament at Lewiston last week.
The win improves LCSC to 8-1 on the season while Concordia falls to 2-2. Both teams were coming off big games from the night before as the Warriors, ranked No. 5 in the NAIA, fell to top-ranked Azusa Pacific 54-45 while Concordia defeated Carroll College 70-66.
LCSC came up with one of its best defensive efforts of the year on Saturday and needed it, especially with its offense struggling in the first half. Although Concordia hit only four field goals in the first 20 minutes, LCSC made only seven for an 18-12 lead at intermission.
In fact, the Warriors only had three players score in the first half. Senior All-American candidate Jasmine Stohr had 10 of her game-high 24 points in the opening 20 minutes, while freshman point guard Brittaney Niebergall had six points. Alyssa Fierro had the remaining two.
“It was a really, really physical game,” LCSC coach Brian Orr said. “We played well defensively in the first half but the thing about it was that we weren’t very good on offense. They ran a full-court press whether they made or missed, and we turned it over.”
LCSC had 16 of its 25 turnovers in the first half, which helped Concordia stay close.
LCSC’s defense held Concordia to three points in the opening eight minutes of the game, but LCSC went scoreless for more than five minutes as the Eagles clawed back to 10-8. The Eagles then went scoreless for nearly seven minutes as LCSC pushed the lead to 18-8, but Concordia managed four more points before halftime.
Concordia ended the first half 4-of-35 from the field for 11.4 percent accuracy.
Both teams had better offensive production in the second half, but it was LCSC that got rolling first. The Warriors led 27-17 with 16:06 remaining and pushed the lead to as much as 18 at 42-24 with 11:16 left.
“I thought in the second half we really settled down, played within ourselves, and ran the offense,” Orr said. “They (the Eagles) were physical and we shot a ton of free throws. It seemed like every possession they were fouling us.”
Concordia answered with a nice run and appeared ready to make a game of it when the Eagles cut the margin to 48-42 with 3:47 left. Fierro then made the first of two free throws with 3:30 left, and when she missed the second, Stohr got the rebound and the putback for a nine-point advantage.
Concordia answered with a basket to cut it to 51-44, but the Warriors scored the next seven points to put the game away.
“They hit a couple of deep 3-pointers with about six minutes left and started shooting 3s almost every time down the court,” Orr said. “But our defense was stellar all night. I thought we rebounded pretty well.”
After combining for 30 points in the first half, the two teams scored 93 in the final 20 minutes.
Stohr had a solid all-around night. She went 9-of-14 from the field and 6-of-7 at the foul line. She also had six rebounds, a steal, and a block.
Niebergall had 14 of her career-high 18 points at the foul line where she went 14-of-19. She also had six assists, three steals, and three rebounds. Kirsi Voshell had a double-double with 10 points and 14 rebounds, while Fierro added eight points and 13 boards.
For the game, LCSC was 19-of-46 from the field (41.3 percent), but 0-for-8 from the 3-point line. In the second half, LCSC was 12-of-25 from the field for 48 percent.
The Warriors went 30-of-46 at the foul line (65.2 percent) and held a 57-40 rebounding advantage. Along with seven steals and five blocked shots, the Warriors committed 24 turnovers.
Concordia finished 17-of-77 from the field (22.1 percent) and was 6-of-22 from the 3-point line. The Warrior defense also forced 15 turnovers. Melody Chavez was the lone Eagles’ player in double figures with 12 points.
The Warriors now have some time off before resuming play at home on Dec. 10 against Eastern Oregon. Tipoff is at 5:30 p.m. at the LCSC Activity Center.
“We had nine games to open the season so it’s nice to have a couple of weeks off,” Orr said. “Almost everyone on the team is icing something. That was such a physical game, but we matched the intensity and remained poised.”