Bishop helps LCSC checkmate Loyola in first round
FRANKFORT, Ky. – Senior Tasha Bishop made a career-high seven 3-pointers to help the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team keep pace with Keiva Council and Loyola University (La.) in the first round of the 2012 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship on Thursday. The No. 12-ranked Warriors overcame a nine-point first-half deficit by shooting 66.7 percent from the field in the second half and defeated the No. 24-ranked Wolfpack 74-63.
The victory improves LCSC, a No. 3 seed in the tournament, to 29-4 overall and pushes the team into the second round. Loyola, a No. 6 seed, ends its season at 23-6.
Council, a 5-fot-8 guard who ranks second in the nation with 22.7 points per game, led the game with 34 points and looked capable of leaving the Warriors in the dust after scoring 20 points in the first half.
The Warriors countered with an uncharacteristic barrage from the outside led by Bishop (above photo) who hit three 3-pointers in the final five minutes of the first half to help close a 31-22 gap. Warrior Brittaney Niebergall hit a trey in the final seconds to make the score 33-31 at the break.
LCSC opened the second half on the same note and within the first minute a three by Bishop gave the Warriors a 36-35 lead, their first lead since the 13:29 mark of the first half.
Lewis-Clark State’s offense seemed to settle in after this point and was able to extend the lead to 50-45 at the 15:15 mark and then push to a game-high lead of 14, 74-55, with just over two minutes remaining.
“It wasn’t necessarily us running anything, it was more about us just handling their pressure better,” LCSC assistant coach Kyle Palmer said about the Warriors’ strides on offense in the second half. “When we would beat the press it would be easier to get into something and play more at our pace.”
Bishop, a 5-foot-10 guard from Meridian, Idaho, ended up with a career-high 23 points on 7-of-12 shooting from the outside. She also added seven rebounds and four assists.
“She saved us,” said Palmer. “Once her first shot went down and then her second, she had great confidence and you could see it in her face. She kept us in it in the first half.”
It took Bishop’s shooting, a double-double of 12 points and 12 rebounds by Kirsi Voshell, and 19 points from Jasmine Stohr to outweigh Council who hit 6-of-12 shots from 3-point territory and was also 10-of-10 at the foul line.
“She’s good and we knew that going in,” said Palmer about Council. “We thought we could maybe throw some zone on them and slow her down a little bit, but she hit two deep threes in the first half and then just got on a roll.”
The Warriors tied a season-high in 3-pointers by making 11-of-20 attempts, 55 percent, and made 56.6 percent of their shots overall. Loyola was 8-of-20, 40 percent, from the outside and 29.4 percent from the field overall.
“Jasmine played well in the second half, and our posts came up big,” Palmer said. “We took advantage of our size in the second half for sure.”
LCSC, making its 16th national tournament appearance in program history, had an 8-0 advantage in blocked shots and also led 41-33 in total rebounds, despite trailing 18-10 in offensive boards.
Alyssa Fierro had 10 points, eight rebounds, and a game-high four blocks. Voshell added two blocks, Bishop had one, and Stohr had one block to go with six assists and two steals.
Led by eight from Niebergall, the Warriors totaled 22 assists on the day, their third highest total this season.
Council was the only member of the Wolfpack to score in double-digits though Amy Moody and Amy Sprout added nine points apiece. Jasmine Brewer led the team with 10 rebounds.
Thanks to its high pressure defense, Loyola had a 15-7 advantage in steals and forced the Warriors into a season-high 28 turnovers.
The Warriors will need to keep their shooting hot and their turnovers down if they want to advance past the second round for the first time since 2008. On Friday, at 11:15 a.m., Pacific time, they’ll play the winner of today’s game between No. 5-ranked Lubbock Christian and unranked LSU Shreveport.