LEWISTON, Idaho – Another close game slipped away from the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team in the late going on Saturday night at the Activity Center, as Montana Tech reclaimed the lead in the final four minutes and held on for a 60-55 victory.
The loss, which drops the Warriors to 3-12 overall and 0-2 in conference play, marks the sixth time thus far in the 2012-13 season that LCSC has lost by five or fewer points.
Lewis-Clark State senior guard Annie Kane led all scorers with 24 points on Saturday, and sophomore forward Tanis Fuller chipped in 19 points and 10 rebounds for the Warriors, but LCSC struggled to produce offense elsewhere.
Kane and Fuller took 40 of the team’s 66 shots against the Orediggers, and accounted for 43 of the Warriors’ 55 points -- 78 percent of the overall scoring.
“Offensively, we just weren’t very good tonight. When you have three starters that don’t even score a point, it’s not a good sign,” said LCSC coach Brian Orr. “We weren’t able to get out in transition at all, and we just need to do a better job of finishing. And that’s finishing shots, finishing plays and finishing games.”
Fuller gave the Warriors their final lead of the game with a bucket off a steal by Laurenna Plourd with 5:16 left in the game, putting LCSC up 48-46.
But Montana Tech (6-4, 1-0) was able to work the ball inside in the waning minutes, either scoring in the post or on the free throw line to earn the victory in its first Frontier Conference game of the season.
“I thought our defense was pretty good until those last three or four minutes,” Orr said. “They (Tech) broke us down and we left some people open.”
The Diggers went 8-for-10 from the free throw line in the second half and 14-for-17 (82 percent) in the game, compared with the Warriors 10-for-17 (59 percent) shooting from the stripe.
Dannii Devenny scored on a back-door cut to the basket with 40 seconds left in the game to give Tech a 56-52 lead after Fuller had pulled the Warriors to within one possession with a bucket in the lane.
Brittaney Niebergall hoisted a quick 3-point attempt and tied up with a Montana Tech defender for the rebound, but the possession arrow favored the Diggers.
LCSC got one last window when Kane sank a 3-pointer with 17 seconds left to make it a one-possession game again, but Kelsey DeWit, who led Montana Tech with 19 points in the game, made two free throws with 13 tick on the clock to ice it.
“We’re disappointed in the loss to say the least,” Orr said. “I felt like we were going to win that game for the majority of the time. We’ve dug ourselves a pretty good hole in the league, and when so much of the league is travel, you’ve got to hold down the fort at home.”
The Warriors will try to get their first victory at the Activity Center when they host NCAA Division III foe Whitworth in Lewiston on Dec. 30. Until then, it’s back to business for the team.
“We have a great group of girls who are wonderful people and play hard for each other, so I’m blessed,” Orr said. “We just have to turn this corner. As soon as we win a close one, I think we’re going to break through that barrier.”