This week in Warrior Athletics
Womenís basketball: NAIA National Tournament at Jackson, Tenn.: LCSC vs. Columbia, 8:45 a.m., Thursday, March 15. All LCSC games will be live on KOZE-AM (950)
Menís basketball: NAIA National Tournament at Kansas City, Mo.: LCSC vs. Northwestern Oklahoma, 6 p.m., Thursday, March 15. All LCSC games will be live on KOZE-AM (950)
Baseball Ė at Albertson College, Caldwell, Idaho, Friday-Sunday, March 16-18. All single nine-inning games and start at noon, PST. All LCSC games will be live on KOZE-AM (950) unless one of the LCSC basketball teams is playing.
Womenís tennis Ė vs. Linfield, 1 p.m., Saturday, March 17, Walla Walla; vs. Whitman, 4 p.m., Saturday, March 17, Walla Walla.
Oman Arena in Jackson, Tenn., has become a second home for the Warrior women in the month of March. This is the 11th time in the last 12 years the Warriors have made the trip to the NAIA national tournament, which kicks off play Wednesday.
LCSC received one of four No. 2 seeds in the tournament. The Warrior women are 30-2 on the season, while the Columbia Cougars are 26-7 and were ranked No. 27 in the final NAIA poll, which came out at the end of February, prior to conference tournaments. The Warriors were No. 2 in that poll.
With a victory, LCSC would play the winner of the Cumberland (Tenn.)-Azusa Pacific contest at 10:30 a.m., on Friday. The quarterfinals are March 17, while the semifinals are March 19, and the championship game is March 20.
This is the Warriorsí 16th straight season with 20-plus wins. The 30 victories this season is the second-best single season win total. With three wins at the tournament, LCSC will tie the all-time season win record of 33, set during the 2000-01 season.
Columbia College finished second in the American Midwest Conference with an 11-3 mark and fell to No. 4 seed Harris Stowe St. in the championship game of the AMC tournament.
Like LCSC, Columbia has a majority of seniors on its team. The Cougars are averaging 78.7 points per game and allowing 68.6. The team is shooting 42.7 percent from the field, 29.4 percent from the 3-point line and 69.9 percent at the foul line. The team also has forced 740 turnovers, but committed 671.
Amber Lewellen, a 5-foot-9 junior guard, leads the team in scoring at 18.6 points per game and is second in rebounds at 5.71. LeAnn Fossum, a 6-0 senior forward, is averaging 13.3 points per game, while Whitney Widaman, a 5-6 freshman guard, is hitting for 11.8 points per game.
The Warriors are averaging 78.2 points per game, but are only allowing 59.0. LCSC also has forced 716 turnovers this season and committed 550. The Warriors are shooting 45.9 percent from the field 36 percent from the 3-point line, and 68.7 percent from the foul line.
The Warriors and Cougars have no common opponents this season.
The NAIA menís tournament ranks the 32 teams in order and the Warriors are the No. 14 seed at 26-6, and will take on No. 19 seed Northwestern Oklahoma, 20-11. LCSC was ranked No. 16 in the final NAIA poll, while the Rangers were No. 24.
The winner of the Northwestern Oklahoma-LCSC contest will face the winner of No. 3 seed Georgetown (Ky.) and Xavier (La.) at 6 p.m. on Friday. The quarterfinals are March 17, while the semifinals are March 19, and the championship game is March 20.
LCSC does have one common opponent with the Rangers, and itís the No. 2 team in the country, Oklahoma City University. The Warriors lost to Oklahoma City 79-51 in a tournament at Lewiston in November, and OCU beat the Rangers 81-50 in early January. However, in their second meeting, as well as in the Sooner Athletic Conference Tournament, the Rangers defeated OCU 69-60 and 69-62 for OCUís only two losses this season.
The Rangers appear to be peaking at the right time as they have won seven of their last nine games. They finished fourth in the conference at 10-8, including just 2-7 on the road.
Northwestern Oklahoma is average 68.8 points per game and is allowing 64.1. The Rangers are shooting 44.2 percent from the field and 34.1 percent from the 3-point line.
Like the Warriors, the Rangers use several players in games. Tramain Davis, a 6-5 senior forward, leads the team in scoring and rebounding at 12.6 points and 6.0 boards per game. Gary Nunez, a 6-7 senior center, is at 10.6 points, followed by 5-10 freshman guard Brandon Brown at 10.3 points, and Shane Hansen, a 6-4 junior guard, at 10.0 points.
The Warriors men are making their sixth national appearance, and third in the last six years. The 26 wins are the second most in a season, trailing only 31 set by the 2003-04 teams.
LCSC has made its mark defensively this year. The team is second in the NAIA in fewest points allowed per game at 60.3, and is fourth in 3-point field goal percentage at 30.6. LCSC is also outscoring opponents by an average of 17.6 points per game, which ranks third in the country.
Itís been nearly a month since the LCSC and Albertson baseball teams played at Harris Field, with the Warriors claiming a 7-0 victory on Feb. 18.
Since then, the two teams have shared something in common: winning. Albertson has won 11 straight since that contest, while LCSC has won 13 of 14, which sets up an interesting three-game series between two of the hottest teams in the NAIA. LCSCís only loss is a one-run setback to Gonzaga, an NCAA Division I school, in the championship game of the SPORT Banana Belt Tournament.
LCSC, 16-1 overall and ranked No. 1 in the NAIA, also defeated Albertson 8-1 during the opening weekend of play. Albertson, 15-2 overall, hasnít lost outside of those two games against LCSC. With games against LCSC not counting in the Region I standings, Albertson and British Columbia are the two favorites to battle for the Region title.
The Warriors have won 15 games by five or more runs and has outscored the opposition 171-41 this season. The Warriors are hitting .340 as a team and holding opponents to a .196 batting average. Opposing pitchers have a 9.45 earned run average against LCSC, while the Warrior pitching staff has a 1.97 ERA.
Leadoff hitter Mark Thompson leads the Warrior regulars with a .483 batting average. He has nine doubles, three triples, three home runs and 15 RBI. Heís also stolen a team-high 14 bases this season and scored 29 runs.
First baseman/designated hitter Ikaika Lester is hitting .457, while third baseman Beau Mills is at .429 with team highs in home runs (six) and RBI (24).
Defensively, catcher Jessie Mier has been impressive as teams are only 5-of-12 in stolen bases against the Warriors this year, including just 2-of-8 when Mier is the catcher.
LCSC has 10 pitchers who have made at least two appearances with ERAs of less than 2.50. Reliever Will Morgan (1-0) has been particular impressive as heís made seven appearances this season and pitched 22.1 innings, but hasnít allowed a run. Heís given up eight hits and two walks, and has struck out 22.
Junior Chris Kissock (4-0) has thrown a team-high 29 innings and has allowed only one earned run and 18 hits. Heís struck out 22 and walked six.
The three-game series is the first away games for the Warriors this season. LCSC will then travel to Vancouver, British Columbia for a three-game series against the University of British Columbia on March 20-22.
The Warrior women look to continue to remain unbeaten against non-NCAA Division I opponents on Saturday when they take on both Linfield College and Whitman College at Walla Walla.
The Warriors are 5-3 overall after falling to Eastern Washington University last Sunday 7-0. LCSCís lone losses this season have all come against regional NCAA Division I schools.
That is also true of the menís team, which stands 7-4 overall after falling to EWU 6-1. The men wonít resume play until next Tuesday when both Warrior teams head to California for a series of matches during the LCSCís spring break.