SALT LAKE CITY – The Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team played some of its best basketball of this young season in the first half against No. 12-ranked Biola University on Saturday at the Westminster Fall Classic. Nevertheless, Biola used a 16-2 run early in the second half to thwart the No. 15 Warriors by a final score of 54-35.
LCSC, still without injured starting point guard Brittaney Niebergall and now 0-4 on the year, matched Biola nearly point for point in the first half and trailed by one, 18-17, at the break.
“The first half we really defended well, but we couldn’t get going offensively because Biola played pretty good defense too,” said LCSC head coach Brian Orr. “In the second half we lost our focus defensively and got down in a hole and just couldn’t fight our way out.”
The Warriors held Biola, which fell to No. 5 Westminster 55-45 on Friday, to a paltry 23.3 percent shooting mark in the first half, but the Eagles picked up the pace to shoot 46.2 percent in the second half and 33.9 percent overall.
During their 16-2 run, the Eagles went 5-of-7 from the field which helped them push the lead from 24-23 with 14:18 left on the clock to 40-25 with just under 10 minutes remaining.
“We had a couple turnovers that led to easy baskets and foul shots for them during that stretch,” said Orr. “Biola’s experience showed up the second half, and our inexperience showed up.”
The Eagles, now 2-2 overall, were led by 6-foot-2 junior Adijat Adams who collected a double-double of 24 points and 15 rebounds. Amy Freet was the only other Eagle to score in double-digits as she had 10 points and seven boards. Chelsea Hill led the team with seven assists, and also had nine points.
Adams helped Biola to a 46-36 advantage in rebounds and a 12-4 edge in second chance points. The Eagles also did a better job of getting to the foul line, shooting 15-for-19 at the line compared to a 4-for-6 effort for the Warriors.
LCSC opened the game strong and enjoyed a 12-6 lead at the midway point of the first half, and was able to keep Biola from taking the lead until the final minute of the half. In the second, the Warriors managed to tie the game at 22-22 with 14:30 left in regulation, but soon after came the Eagles’ scoring barrage.
“I’d hate to keep coming back to our inexperience and our youth, but we lost our focus for two or three minutes and all of a sudden Biola started playing with a different level of confidence. It’s just growing pains for us. As long as we continue to believe that we are going to get better, we should be fine.”
Sophomore Tanis Fuller led the way for LCSC with 10 points and nine rebounds. The team has now had a different leading scorer in each of its four games so far this year.
The Warriors were topped 32-22 in points scored in the paint and were edged 9-8 in points off of turnovers. However, on the positive side, LCSC committed a season-low 15 turnovers, while forcing the Eagles into 14 turnovers.
Neither team shot well from the outside as Biola was 1-of-10 and LCSC was 1-of-9.
“Even for a veteran team, this is just a brutal schedule. The competition has been extremely tough, and we knew it was going to be tough even with Brittaney,” said Orr. “But I’m really happy with how hard we’re battling, and it’ll be good to be back home.”