Led by a strong zone defense that held Whitman to two points during the first seven minutes of the game, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team rolled to a 79-60 nonleague victory over the Missionaries at the LCSC Activity Center on Sunday afternoon.
The Warriors, 11-1 overall and ranked No. 4 in the NAIA, shifted from their usual man defense to a 2-3 zone that gave Whitman all sorts of trouble. The Missionaries trailed the entire contest and didn’t help themselves with just one bucket in opening minutes.
“I thought we came out with great energy,” LCSC coach Brian Orr said. “I thought we played hard and got after it.”
Whitman, which lost to LCSC 76-71 earlier this year in Walla Walla, also had trouble handling LCSC’s senior trio of guard Jasmine Stohr and posts Kirsi Voshell and Alyssa Fierro. Although Stohr scored a game-high 22 points, it was the inside tandem of Voshell and Fierro then helped the Warriors dominate inside. The two combined for 26 points and 23 rebounds, and also helped LCSC to a 34-18 scoring advantage in the paint.
Fierro finished with a double-double with 11 points and a game-high 15 rebounds. It was her fifth double-double of the season and the 21st of her LCSC career. Voshell added 15 points and eight rebounds to help LCSC claim its fourth straight win, including its second in as many days. On Saturday, the Warriors defeated Whitworth 79-72 in Spokane.
The Warriors were able to use a 7-0 run early for a 9-2 advantage. After Whitman cut the margin to 15-12 with 10:08 left, LCSC cranked up the defense again and went on a 29-12 run over the final 10 minutes of the first half for a 44-22 halftime lead.
“I thought the second 10 minutes of the first half is the best we’ve played all season long,” Orr said. “I thought Tanis (Fuller) came in and hit a couple of buckets and really sparked us.”
LCSC forced nine turnovers in the first half, had an 18-6 advantage with points in the paint, and a 10-2 scoring advantage on offensive rebounds. LCSC’s defense also held Whitman to just 8-of-29 shooting in the half.
The second half was more of the same, although Whitman did cut the margin to 13 with about seven minutes remaining. LCSC, however, forced four turnovers during a two-minute stretch and went on a 7-0 run to push the margin back into the 20s.
The Warriors cooled off a little in the second half but still finished the game 26-of-61 from the field for 41 percent. The team also was 25-of-34 at the foul line for 73.5 percent. Whitman finished 21-of-60 for 35 percent and also had 17 turnovers, compared to eight for LCSC.
“I told them it would be my Christmas present if we kept it (turnovers) under 10 so I’m happy,” Orr said.
Fuller and Brittaney Niebergall, both freshmen, finished with eight points apiece while Tasha Bishop added seven.
Jenele Peterson and Heather Lovelace had 10 points each for Whitman.
The contest was LCSC’s final one before Christmas. The Warriors will play three games in a tournament in Las Vegas starting on Dec. 28 against No. 19-ranked Bethel of Tennessee. LCSC also will play Madonna on Dec. 29 and the University of Lethbridge on Dec. 30. The Warriors then kick off Frontier Conference play on Jan. 6 at Dillon, Mont., against the University of Montana Western.