Big finish trumps bad start in first round Warrior win
LEWISTON, Idaho – Outscored 17-4 in the first 12 minutes of the game and trailing 27-19 at the half, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team was in need of a few back-to-back unanswered points in the second half against Montana Tech to say the least. The Warriors ended up with more than just a couple unanswered points as they used a 25-3 scoring run to rally past the Orediggers 63-51 in the opening round of the Frontier Conference playoffs on Wednesday night.
The victory means the second-seeded Warriors advance to the semifinal round of the tournament and will host third-seeded MSU-Northern on Saturday at 7 p.m. MSU-Northern won its opening round game against Montana Western on Wednesday night 67-63.
With their hopes of playing for a fifth consecutive tournament title on the line, the Warriors had to dig deep to make up for the deep hole they dug in the first half.
Senior Jasmine Stohr got the second-half rally rolling for the Warriors with back-to-back threes followed by a jumper to trim what was a 43-33 deficit with 11 minutes left in regulation to 43-41.
On the following possession, Brittaney Niebergall found an open Kelli Rice in the corner and she nailed a trey to give LCSC its first lead of the game at the 8:33 mark.
From this point, with momentum on their side, the Warriors got the ball to Alyssa Fierro on the inside where she continued the attack and hit back-to-back buckets followed by a couple free throws to extend the lead to 48-45 with seven minutes remaining.
The No. 13-ranked Warriors then used three consecutive steals to help push the lead to double digits, where it remained for the rest of the game.
With the loss, Montana Tech ends its season at 10-17 overall, with three of their losses coming against the Warriors.
After being plagued by nine turnovers and a 24.2 percent shooting clip in the first half, LCSC head basketball coach Brian Orr was happy his team found a way to win but was disappointed in the team’s slow start.
“We’re glad we survived,” said Orr. “You’d like to think that you’re peaking this time of year, but that definitely didn’t look to be the case for us tonight. What’s really disappointing is that we didn’t play like we were prepared.”
The Orediggers took advantage of LCSC’s slow start with six 3-pointers in the first half including three of them in the first six minutes. Tech’s outside shooting cooled in the second half though as they made just 2-of-12 attempts to finish 8-of-27 on the night.
Overall, LCSC outshot Tech 35.4 percent to 27.7 percent. Both teams shot well at the foul line as Tech was 10-of-10 and LCSC was 17-of-18.
Stohr had a game-high 22 points to go with five rebounds, five assists, three steals, and two blocks. Montana Tech’s Bryn Hasquet was second in scoring as she had 21 points on 5-of-10 shooting from behind the arc.
Fierro finished with a double-double of 12 points and 12 boards to help LCSC lead 28-10 in points scored in the paint and 54-38 in total rebounds. The Warriors also had an 18-10 lead in offensive rebounds.
All nine of LCSC’s players had at least one point in the game and all but one had at least one rebound. Kirsi Voshell had eight points and nine rebounds; Tanis Fuller had four points and nine rebounds; and Niebergall had five points, four rebounds, and six assists.
The Warriors, now 26-4 overall, scored 44 points in the second half after scoring just 19 in the first.
Besides Hasquet, Mandy Machinal was the only other Oredigger to score in double figures as she had 16 points and eight rebounds.