Warrior Women Pull Away in the Second Half to Take Game 1 of CCC Playoff
LCSC Press Release
LEWISTON, Idaho – Holding the College of Idaho to just two points during a near 20-minute stretch, the Lewis-Clark State College Women’s Basketball team rode its defense to a 56-40 win over the Coyotes in the opening game of the Cascade Collegiate Conference Tournament best-of-3 series at the LC Activity Center on Thursday night.
LC, ranked No 24 in the NAIA, improved to 11-5 in perhaps getting through its weirdest game of the season. LC led only 15-11 at halftime before it came to life offensively in the second half when it scored more points (41) than the Coyotes scored in the game. College of Idaho also had 28 turnovers in the contest.
“Well the first half was obviously one of the worst halves, maybe the worst I have ever seen,” LC Head Coach Brian Orr said. “The second half, we played together so much better. We finally started to hit some shots and really play together.”
The first half features as many points as there were turnovers. College of Idaho turned the ball over 16 times in the first 20 minutes, while LC had 10 turnovers.
The Coyotes, 4-13 overall, did manage to hit three 3-pointers in the first four minutes of the game to take a 9-2 lead. However, the Coyotes only scored two points the remaining 16 minutes of the first half. College of Idaho didn’t score again until the 6:10 mark of the third quarter when it hit another 3-pointer.
By that time, the Warriors overcame their own offensive struggles to take control of the game.
Seniors Kiara Burlage and Abbie Johnson took over in the second half for LC and combined for 23 points. Burlage provided the spark in the third quarter and at one point scored 10 consecutive points to help LC double the Coyotes at 34-17. Johnson added 12 points in the second half, including eight in the final quarter.
“In the second half I thought we played a lot better,” Orr said. “I thought both Kiara and Abbie Johnson were really good. Kiara got us going in the second half. I think she slowed down a little bit. She was playing with a smile and her demeanor gave us confidence.”
Burlage finished with games highs of 17 points and 11 rebounds, while Johnson added 15 points, six steals and four rebounds.
“I thought Abbie was really good on defense tonight with her six steals,” Orr said. “And she is starting to look to be more of a scorer for us.”
LC finished with 13 steals in the game as Peyton Souvenir added four.
Overall, LC scored 23 points off of C of I turnovers.
The Warriors finished 21-of-58 from the field for 36.2 percent, but were 16-of-28 in the second half (62.5) percent. College of Idaho was 16-of-56 from the field, 28.6 percent and 8-of-26 from the 3-point line, 30.8 percent.
Game 2 of the series will be held at 2 p.m., PST, on Sunday in Caldwell. If College of Idaho wins Sunday, a coin flip will be held after the game to determine the host team for Game 3, which will be next Friday.
The winner of the series will earn an automatic berth to the 48-team NAIA national tournament. Pairings and sites for the opening rounds for nationals will be announced on March 4.
LCSC is seeking to qualify for nationals for the 18th time in Orr’s 20 years at the helm.