BILLINGS, Mont. – If there were any doubts, the Lewis-Clark State College women’s basketball team made it quite clear that it is a force to be reckoned with in the Frontier Conference thanks to a 24-point rout of Rocky Mountain College on the road on Thursday night. The No. 25 Warriors used a season-high 14 threes to thump the Battlin’ Bears 78-54.
With two straight wins, the Warriors, at 20-7 overall and 6-5 in league play, are now only a half-game out of third place in the league standings.
“We just shot the ball so well. Life is good when the ball is going in the hole,” said LCSC head coach Brian Orr. “We put nearly 80 points on the board and our top two scorers were under 10, so our bench really came through.”
After riding a 30-point effort from its leading scorer Tanis Fuller last week against Montana Tech, LCSC hit Rocky with a very balanced attack on Thursday. Six Warriors scored between nine and 14 points.
Senior Kelli Rice had a career-high 14 points on 4-for-4 shooting from the outside. Sophomore Natahnee also had 14 points, going 4-for-9 from long range.
“Most of (the success on the outside) was because of our ball movement,” Orr said. “We moved the ball extremely well and found the open player. It was all predicated on the ball movement.”
Megan Risinger was 2-of-3 from deep and ended up with 11 points, while Laurenna Plourd had 10 points off the bench as she filled in adeptly for post McKenzie Heaslet who ran into foul trouble. Fuller finished with nine points and seven rebounds, and Caelyn Orlandi tallied nine points, six boards, and four assists.
LCSC coupled its knack for sharing on offense with very stingy defense, holding RMC to 18 points and five field goals in the opening half. It led 40-18 at the break and by as many as 29 in the second half against a team that defeated third-place Great Falls 77-71 last week.
“I thought we were really good on both ends, especially on defense in the first half,” said Orr. “They didn’t get any easy looks and we rebounded the ball well.”
Rocky Mountain (10-13, 3-9) was led by Whitney Mitchell and Bridger Rice who had 14 and 10 points, respectively.
The Warriors outshot the Bears 50 percent to 30 percent, outrebounded them 42-32, and led 14-4 in makes from the outside. LC State opened the game with a 17-3 run and led by as many as 24 in the first half.
LCSC’s game on Saturday could be one of its most important games of the year as it travels to Helena, Mont., to face No. 19 Carroll College (16-9, 7-5). With a win, the Warriors will move into third or fourth in the standings (a half-game ahead of Carroll), have a good chance of moving up in the national rankings, and put themselves in solid position to host an opening round playoff game as the regular season wraps up next week.
Lewis-Clark State’s triumph on Thursday marked the 22nd time the program has reached the 20-win plateau in the last 23 years.
“It’s always an important thing I think in helping us get to the national tournament,” Orr said about reaching 20 wins. “And I think it helps us with recruiting, but, truly, right now it’s just one more win and right now we’re looking toward the next one. We want 21 on Saturday.”
Saturday's LCSC-Carroll tilt tips off at 4:30 p.m., Pacific, with live coverage available on 950AM-KOZE and online at www.koze-sports.com.
Sports Information Director &
Asst. Director of College Communications
Lewis-Clark State College
Lewiston, Idaho 83501
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