LEWISTON, Idaho – A more aggressive approach in the second half couldn’t get the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team out of a first-half hole on Sunday in a 68-53 non-league loss to Whitworth at the Activity Center.
A 19-3 Warrior run that spanned nearly eight minutes in the middle of the second half made things a little hot for the NCAA Division III Pirates (8-2), but Lewis-Clark State (3-13) couldn’t get closer than 14 points.
The run was powered by a switch to a trapping defense that induced 11 Whitworth turnovers in the second half, and limited the Pirates to just 23 points after halftime, but it wasn’t enough to overcome a hot-shooting first half.
Whitworth hit 14 of its 25 3-point attempts in the game including 9-of-14 from beyond the arc in the first half, tying a season-high for triples in one period.
The Pirates’ marksmanship, combined with an offensive malaise on the part of the Warriors, made it an uphill slog for the Warriors.
“Nothing was going for us,” LCSC coach Brian Orr said. “We couldn’t get shots to go, we gave a horrible defensive effort in the first half, and you can just go all the way down the line. It was really disappointing to see us come out that way. I felt like we took a step back today.”
The Warriors made just five field goals in the first half from 22 attempts from the field, and got out-rebounded 23-11 by a smaller Pirates’ squad.
“We as coaches need to do a better job of preparing this team to play hard every possession for 40 minutes,” Orr said.
Tanis Fuller led Lewis-Clark State with 17 points on 6-for-11 shooting, and Lauren Picha paced the Pirates with 13 points, including 3-for-4 from downtown.
Annie Kane’s first bucket of the game, a 3-pointer with 14:48 to go in the second half, began the Warriors’ surge. Fuller had five points on the run, including a nifty blow-by off a shot fake that resulted in a 3-point play.
A pull-up jumper by Whitworth freshman K.C. McConnell, a Clarkston High School alumna, stopped the bleeding with 4:29 to go in the game. McConnell, who finished with 12 points, hit a 3-pointer with 3:08 to go that put the Pirates up 65-47 and put a dagger in any Warrior comeback hopes.
Seven Whitworth players made at least one 3-pointer on Sunday night.
“When you’re trapping like we were, you’re going to give up some open looks,” Orr said. “It was good for us that Whitworth kept taking them early in possessions, but eventually the fatigue set in for us.”
The Warriors face a stiff test this Thursday when the Westminster Griffins, ranked fourth in the latest NAIA Division I poll, comes to Lewiston.
“It’s a great opportunity for us, but we need to see more self-drive out of the girls,” Orr said. “If we come out and play like we did to start tonight, it’s going to be a long night for us. We need everyone to step up their game. At some point we’re going to start making some shots and sustain things a little bit.”