BUTTE, Mont. – It’s been a theme of the 2012-13 season, but that doesn’t mean it’s getting any easier for the Warriors to swallow. The Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team once again had victory in sight only to have all hopes dashed in the final seconds.
Montana Tech’s Dannielle Devenny hit a jumper with five seconds remaining to lift the Orediggers to a 68-66 win over the Warriors on Saturday night.
“We just couldn’t get a stop when we needed it. It’s unfortunate because we did some really good things,” said LCSC head coach Brian Orr, who has led the Warriors to three Frontier Conference season titles and five tournament titles during his 12 years at the helm.
After Warrior sophomore Tanis Fuller tied the game with two free throws, Devenny, a 6-foot junior from Perth, Australia, spoiled a solid game for the Warriors with a clutch jump shot from 15-feet away.
“We got caught on a screen a little bit, but I thought we did a pretty good job defending it,” Orr said about the game-winning shot. “She made a tough shot, so you have to give her credit. She (Devenny) was a nemesis to us all game.”
Devenny finished with 17 points, six rebounds, and four steals.
LCSC had five seconds to work with in its final possession. Senior Annie Kane hoisted a 3-pointer from 35-feet out, but it fell just short and clanked off the front of the rim.
“When Annie let it go at the buzzer I honestly thought it had a chance to go in,” Orr said. “She made a good decision. It was the right shot to take at that time… But obviously we don’t want it to come down to that.”
The Warriors (6-19, 3-8 in FC) have now lost eight games this season by five points or less, including a number of games that came down to the final possession.
“There are a lot of good things we can take away from this game, but unfortunately at this time of year there are no moral victories. At the end of the day, nobody cares how much you lost by. We just got to get more W’s.”
With a 50 percent mark from the field, the Warriors definitely shot the ball well enough to win on Saturday. After trailing by seven in the first half and 33-30 at halftime, the team rallied to take a nine-point lead in the second.
“I thought we played pretty well offensively in the second half. And I thought our defense was pretty solid. But the big tell in the game was the rebounding. We just got beat on the boards. In just about every other aspect of the game I thought we were just as good or better.”
Tech (14-10, 7-5) had a 40-28 lead in total rebounds and a key 16-6 advantage in offensive rebounds.
Erika Jenkins led the Orediggers with 11 rebounds and also had 11 points. She joined Brynne Kambich (16), Mandy Machinal (16), and Devenny as the four Orediggers to score in double digits.
LCSC also had four players score in double figures. Ornela Bacchini led with 17 points; Loree Hill shot 6-for-6 overall and 4-for-4 from the outside to finish with 16; Tanis Fuller had 14, and Kane had 13 points. Fuller also had 11 rebounds and four assists and now has five double-doubles this season.
With just four games left on the schedule, the Warriors stand seventh in the conference standings and in desperate need of a strong finish. Only the top six teams advance to the conference tournament.
Next week LCSC will host Dickinson State on Thursday and Rocky Mountain on Saturday. Dickinson (7-17, 2-8) is last in the conference standings, while Rocky Mountain (8-14, 5-7) stands in fifth.
“It is absolutely imperative that we win both games.”