Slow start dims Warrior chances against Skylights
HAVRE, Mont. – Going 1-of-14 from the field to start the game, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team dug too big of a hole to climb out of against Montana State University-Northern on Friday night. The Warriors overcame a 15 point first-half deficit to trail by just two points in the final two minutes, but it was too little too late and LCSC fell by a final score of 55-48.
The loss drops the Warriors to 4-2 in the Frontier Conference and 18-3 overall. MSU-Northern improves to 3-3 and 16-4.
“It was a terrible first half. We couldn’t put the ball in the basket,” said LCSC head coach Brian Orr. “I was proud of the way we battled back, we had a chance, but the damage was done in the first half.”
Making just one basket in the first 10 minutes, LCSC trailed by scores of 15-2 and 20-7 in the first half. Once the scored reach 25-10 the Warriors, helped by back-to-back 3-pointers by Brittany Niebergall, went on a 10-2 run in the final three minutes to cut the lead to 27-20 at halftime.
LCSC stayed within 10 points of the Skylights throughout the second half and came closest to catching up when Kirsi Voshell hit a layup on a nice pass by Kelli Rice to make it 48-46 with 2:02 on the clock.
The lead would never change hands though as the Warriors missed their next three shots shot attempts and the Skylights made 6-of-7 attempts at the foul line in the final two minutes.
MSU-Northern made a superb 16-of-18 free throws on the night, with Laramie Schwenke hitting 4-of-4 attempts at the line to lead the game with 16 points. Nikki Tresch was 5-of-6 at the line and finished with 14 points, and Kylee Denham was 4-of-4 and had eight points.
Leading in scoring for the Warriors was Niebergall who had 14 points on 3-of-6 shooting from 3-point territory. Voshell was the only other Warrior to reach double-digits as she had 10 points to go with six rebounds and four blocks.
Despite Alyssa Fierro leading the game with 12 rebounds, MSU-Northern had a 34-28 advantage in boards overall including a 21-10 lead in the first half.
LCSC committed 15 turnovers to MSUN’s 18; however, the Skylights did a better job of capitalizing on mistakes and led 19-11 in points off of turnovers.
Both teams shot right around 37-percent from the field on the night and hit five 3-pointers apiece. Thus the difference in scoring came mostly at the foul line, as the Warriors had just 10 attempts overall, of which they made seven.
“Northern defended us really well, doubled down on our post players, and we really couldn’t get in a rhythm,” said Orr. “We have to regroup and get ready for another tough one tomorrow.
On Saturday the Warriors will face Great Falls University. Tip will be at 4:30 p.m., Pacific time, and live coverage will be available online through KOZE Radio at www.koze-sports.com