GREAT FALLS, Mont. – With four players falling just shy of 20 points apiece, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team cruised to a 75-65 win over the University of Great Falls on Friday. The Warriors never trailed in the second half and led by as many as 13.
“We played really well,” said LCSC head coach Brian Orr. “We played with a competitive chip for the first time this year. That’s a real good step in the right direction.”
LCSC enjoyed standout scoring efforts from senior Annie Kane, junior Ornela Bacchini, and sophomores Loree Hill and Tanis Fuller. The four ended up scoring 71 of team’s 75 points.
Fuller nearly reached a triple-double as she turned in 17 points, nine rebounds, and a career-high seven assists. Bacchini had a team-high 19 points to go with eight rebounds, Kane had 18 points, and Hill had 17 on 3-of-5 shooting from the outside and seven rebounds.
“They all looked for their shot and took it when it was there,” Orr said. “Annie did a great job at the point and made some good decisions, and Ornela probably had her best game of the season.”
The Warriors enjoyed a 36-24 advantage in points in the paint, tied a season-high with 18 assists, and outshot the Argos 48 percent to 33 percent from the field.
“Offensively we stayed aggressive. This was our best performance on offense by far.”
Fourteen Warrior turnovers in the first half helped Great Falls, which enjoyed a 26-13 lead in points off of turnovers, hold LCSC’s lead to only three, 34-31, at the break. But the Warriors did a much better job of taking care of the ball in the second half, committing only eight miscues.
The Warriors also did a better job of rebounding as the game went on. They surrendered 10 offensive rebounds in the first half but just three in the second.
“We fought for rebounds, and that’s just something that we haven’t done consistently all year long.”
Argo freshman Erin Legel, who hit the game-winning layup against the Warriors last time, finished with a game-high 21 points on Friday. She was 4-of-11 from the outside. Lindsey Abramson added 18 points and nine rebounds, and Kindra Jones had eight points and 10 boards.
The Warriors are now 2-4 in the Frontier Conference and 5-15 overall, while Great Falls moves to 1-5 and 11-9. The victory avenges a 79-76 last-second loss to the Argos at home in the league opener on Dec. 15.
The win also helps counter the bad news the team received this week when it learned that starting point guard Brittaney Niebergall will miss the rest of the season. Nierbergall, who was last year’s Frontier Conference Freshman of the Year, is expected to undergo surgery to treat plantar fasciitis.
“She’s going to have both feet operated on,” said Orr. “It’s tough. We don’t know all the details at this time, but we know we made the right decision for her and her future.”
The Warriors will continue their road trip on Saturday when they head to Havre, Mont., to face MSU-Northern. The tip is set for 5 p.m., Pacific, and will feature live online coverage from KOZE’s Brian Danner at www.koze-sports.com as well as MSU-Northern’s live video stream.