SALEM, Ore. – The Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team steamrolled Willamette after halftime en route to a 76-55 thrashing of the Bearcats at Cone Field House on Sunday night.
The Warriors, now 2-9 on the season, were energized and aggressive on Sunday following a players-only meeting after their two-point loss to New Hope Christian on Saturday.
“It really helped,” LCSC coach Brian Orr said of the players’ meeting. “They rallied themselves and kept the energy going. They lifted my spirits, and I give them all the credit in the world for all their hard work. It finally paid off a little bit tonight.”
The Warriors shot a season-best 54.2 percent (32-for-59) from the field against Willamette, and got contributions up and down the lineup.
Senior guard Annie Kane, moved back to her intended 2-guard spot after the return of point guard Brittaney Niebergall from injury, led all scorers with 17 points on an efficient 8-of-10 shooting on Sunday.
Kane scored all nine of her first-half points in a span of 3:24 midway through the first half to spark her team. The last of those buckets was a 3-pointer with 5:04 to go in the half that gave the Warriors an 8-point advantage over the winless Bearcats (0-7).
“We found her wide-open a couple of times, and a couple of times she created her own looks,” Orr said of Kane, who also led the Warriors with eight rebounds from her guard spot. “She played so well tonight, so under control. Her leadership has been tremendous.”
After Kane’s triple, Willamette closed the lead to three points at 31-28 on a 3-pointer by Sophie Wilson, but Niebergall answered with a three of her own on the next possession to push it back out to a six-point lead.
Willamette never got that close again.
“We executed really well offensively and defensively,” Orr said. “We had 10 turnovers in the first half, and I think we were hurrying a little bit. We played more under control in the second half.”
Lewis-Clark State came out of the locker room shooting in the second half, and effectively buried the Bearcats with a 16-6 run in the first six minutes of the second half.
Tanis Fuller, shifted to the 4-spot with Niebergall back, had eight of the Warriors’ points during the spurt, and finished the game with 14 points on 7-for-11 shooting.
The Lewiston native’s solid performance comes on the heels of a 15-point effort on Saturday.
“Tanis was so great for us this weekend,” Orr said. “She played with great control and executed really well, in spite of the fact that she was re-learning a new position.”
The Warriors continued to widen their lead throughout the second half, going up by as many as 25 points in the closing minutes, as Orr was able to rest his starters.
Niebergall, in her second game back after missing nine, had 11 points in 21 minutes.
“We wanted to limit her minutes this weekend, and we were able to do that with everyone playing so well,” Orr said.
Lewis-Clark State, which has played nine of its first 11 games away from home, heads back out onto the road next weekend to play Corban and Eastern Oregon at a tournament hosted by Whitman University in Walla Walla, Wash.
“They will be two tough games, but we’ll be two games closer to coming home,” Orr said.
LCSC plays five straight at the Activity Center after this weekend’s road trip.