This week in Warrior Athletics: Doubleheader tonight
Women’s and men’s basketball doubleheaders: vs. Montana State-Northern, Thursday, Feb. 8, women at 6 p.m., men at 8 p.m., LCSC Activity Center; vs. University of Great Falls, Saturday, Feb. 10, women at 6 p.m., men at 8 p.m., LCSC Activity Center.
Tennis – LCSC women vs. MSU-Billings, 9 a.m., Friday, Feb. 9; vs. Whitman, 8 p.m., Saturday, Feb. 10; vs. Gonzaga, 10 a.m., Sunday, Feb. 11, all at LCSC Tennis Center; LCSC men vs. Whitman, 5 p.m., Friday, Feb. 9; vs. MSU-Billings, 9 p.m., Friday, Feb. 9, both at LCSC Tennis Center.
The Warriors look to move closer to claiming the Frontier Conference title this week when they play host to Montana State-Northern and the University of Great Falls this week.
LCSC, ranked No. 2 in the country brings a 14-game win streak into Thursday’s contest against MSU-Northern. The Warriors are a perfect 8-0 in conference play and one game ahead of Montana-Western. MSU-Northern is 4-5 and 15-8; while Great Falls is riding a 10-game losing streak to stand at 0-9 in conference play and 2-20 overall.
The Warriors play four of their final six games at home where they are 11-0 so far this season.
LCSC is coming off a 62-47 road win over Westminster in its first game without leading scorer Aundrea Morrison, who suffered a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago. Katya Yancheva took Morrison’s place in the starting lineup and responded with a season-high 22 points.
Senior post Ashley Baker leads the team in scoring and rebounding with averages of 15.3 and 8.3, respectively. Senior guard Janeen Nelson is at 11.3 points per game, while junior guard Jade Fulbright is at 10.2 points.
Junior point guard Katie Hart is fifth in the country in assists at 5.9 per game and is a key reason why LCSC ranks third in the country in assists and fourth in assist-to-turnover ratio.
The Warriors are second in the country in scoring margin, outscoring the opposition by an average of 22 points per game. LCSC also is sixth in scoring at 81.4 points, ninth in offensive rebounds and field goal percentage, and 10th in defensive rebounds.
MSU-Northern is led by 6-0 senior post DeLayne Johnston, who tops the team in scoring (13.9 points per game), rebounding (6.9), steals (1.1), and blocks (1.2).
The Skylights rank No. 2 in the country in 3-point shooting at 41.1 percent, and are seventh in overall field goal percentage at 46.9 percent.
Like MSU-Northern, Great Falls also is a good 3-point shooting team. The Argos ranks No. 13 in 3-pointers made at 7.3 per game and are shooting 35.6 percent from the arc, which ranks No. 17 in the country.
Laura Keaster, a 5-7 junior guard, leads in the team in scoring at 18.6 points per game, which ranks 11th in the country. She’s also ninth in 3-point field goal percentage at 45.9 percent. Meghan Schwantes, a 5-10 senior, leads the team in rebounding at 6.2 per game.
Frontier Conference standings – Lewis-Clark State 8-0, 22-1; Montana-Western 7-1, 22-2; Carroll 7-2, 23-2; Montana State-Northern 4-5, 15-8; Montana Tech 3-5, 15-7; Westminster 3-5, 15-9; Rocky Mountain 2-7, 8-17; Great Falls 0-9, 2-20.
The hottest and coldest teams in the conference await the Warriors this week as five teams are within one loss of the conference leader heading into the final three weeks of the season.
LCSC, which has lost its last two games, is second in the league at 6-2 and is 17-6 overall, trailing Carroll by a half-game.
MSU-Northern, which handed Carroll its second league loss last week, moved into third in the standings at 6-3 and is riding a three-game win streak to stand 16-8 overall. The Skylights have won four of their last five since falling to LCSC at home 74-61 last month.
“MSU-Northern got two huge wins this past weekend over Carroll and Rocky Mountain,” LCSC coach Tim Walker says. “They are playing extremely well right now and have a lot of momentum coming in here Thursday night. “We will have to do a good job of controlling their scorers and limiting easy baskets.”
Junior forward Mike Gordy and senior guard Teran Lee give the Warriors a solid one-two scoring punch. Gordy is averaging a team-best 16.4 points per game, while Lee is at 14.8. Chris Pitts is third on the team at 8.7 points, and leads the team in both rebounding and blocked shots. Freshman guard Napoleon Gordon leads the team in steals and is second to Lee in assists.
As a team, the Warriors are posting some impressive defensive numbers. LCSC is second in the NAIA in 3-point field goal percentage defense, holding opponents to 28.8 percent accuracy from the arc. LCSC also is third in point allowed at 58.4 per game, fourth in scoring margin by outscoring the opposition by nearly 20 points a game, and is fourth in turnover margin, forcing 6.4 more than committing per game. The Warriors are seventh in field goal percentage defense.
Delvaughn Tinned, a 6-0 junior guard, paces MSU-Northern in scoring at 15.9 points per game, while 6-6 senior Durwin Williams tops the team in rebounding and steals.
As a team, MSU-Northern is eighth in defensive 3-point field goal percentage, and is 10th in assist to turnover ratio.
“They are athletic and present some difficult match ups for us on the defensive end of the floor,” Walker says of the Skylights. “On the offensive side of the ball, we just have to play better. We need to get more production from some spots on the floor. We also need someone to go get some offensive rebounds, as those translate into easy points for us. We will need a very good effort Thursday night to be successful.”
LCSC’s opponent on Saturday, Great Falls, has yet to break into the conference win column and is 0-9 in conference play and 11-14 overall.
Great Falls is without its leading scorer and rebounder, Tyrone Witherspoon, who suffered facial injuries in a collision with another player during a game. He suffered a concussion and possible eye socket damage, which required surgery. Witherspoon was averaging 17.5 points and 8.0 rebounds a game.
Frontier Conference standings – Carroll 7-2, 17-7; LCSC 6-2, 17-6; Montana State-Northern 6-3, 16-8; Westminster 5-3, 13-10; Montana Tech 5-3, 10-11; Rocky Mountain 4-5, 14-11; Montana-Western 1-7, 7-14; Great Falls 0-9, 11-14.
The Warrior women kick off the season this weekend by hosting a four-team round-robin tournament and then facing Gonzaga. The men, who opened two weeks ago, will have two matches, all taking place at the LCSC Tennis Center.
On Friday, the LCSC women’s team will face Montana State-Billings at 9 a.m. The LCSC men jump into action against Whitman at 5 p.m., and MSU-Billings at 9 p.m. MSU-Billings and Whitman men play at 1 p.m.
The women’s tournament continues on Saturday with Albertson against MSU-Billings at 8 a.m., Whitman against Albertsons at noon, Whitman against MSU-Billings at 4 p.m., and LCSC against Whitman at 8 p.m.
Sunday, Gonzaga will be in town to face Albertsons at 10 a.m., and then LCSC at 2 p.m.