LEWISTON – The Cascade Collegiate Conference proves to be one of the toughest in the NAIA night-in and night-out, and Friday was no exception. The No. 9 Warrior women battled their way to a thrilling 62-58 victory over Bushnell University in the P1FCU Activity Center to remain tied for the top spot in the CCC standings.
LC State made 19 of its 20 free throws (.950) in the game which is tied for sixth-best in a single game at LC. With the victory, the Warriors are 21-2 overall and 16-1 in CCC action.
“It wasn’t pretty, but we were able to do enough to hang on for the win,” Head Coach Brian Orr said. “Credit Bushnell, I thought their players got after it on the defensive end. They forced us to take tough contested shots all night and consequently we shot a poor percentage from the floor. Our own defense was inconsistent all game, but our press was effective in forcing turnovers and we were able turn a few of those into points. I thought our late game press, as well as our ability to knock down free throws, made the big difference in tonight’s outcome.”
The Warriors opened the 15-5 first quarter on an 11-0 run, fueled by seven points from Maddie Holm. Bushnell scored five, but layups by Payton Hymas and Sitara Byrd had LC ahead by 10 after the first 10 minutes.
The Beacons responded in the second frame by outscoring LC 17-12. Bushnell started the quarter with a 15-5 rally to even the score 20-20 by 3:31 before a 3 by Ellie Sander, free throws by Byrd and a jumper by Stevens put the Warriors in front 27-20 two minutes later. Bushnell struck for a bucket in the last 30 seconds to end the half at 27-22 in favor of LC State.
Bushnell overtook the Warriors at the 2:51 mark after a back-and-forth battle in the third quarter. A Beacon layup put LC behind 36-34 before a five-point run had the deficit at 41-36. A jumper by Stevens had the Warriors trailing 41-38 heading into the fourth.
Free throws by Lindsey Wilson and Sander brought LC within one before a jumper by Holm gave the Warriors the lead for good. Byrd capped the seven-point rally with foul shots to make it 47-44 LC State with 6:25 to play. Bushnell rallied to knot the score 58-58 with a minute to go, but free throws by Sara Muehlhausen and Stevens pushed the Warriors ahead 62-58.
Holm led the Warriors with 16 points to go with five boards and two steals. Sander tallied 13 points with four steals, and Stevens added 11 points with a team-high three assists. Byrd led the defense with eight rebounds.
The Warriors’ .950 free throw percentage (19-for-20) is tied for sixth-best in the LC State record books. The defense forced 24 turnovers and had 14 steals.
Bushnell’s Bella Pedrojetti led the contest with 23 points on seven 3-pointers and nine rebounds.
The Warriors host Corban on Saturday at 4 p.m. in the P1FCU Activity Center.
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