LEWISTON – Bushnell controlled the pace of play from start to finish on Saturday in No. 7 LC State’s first Cascade Conference loss of the season. Despite Ellie Sander’s career-high 21 points, the Warrior women fell 67-56.
LC State could not overcome 30 points from Bushnell’s Aspen Slifka, and a 19-rebound, 18-point double-double by Libby Mathis.
The Warriors dropped to 8-2 overall and 4-1 in Cascade Conference action. The Beacons improve to 7-4 overall and 3-2 in conference.
“Tonight was a tough loss for the team,” Head Coach Caelyn Orlandi said. “We did not play Warrior basketball tonight. Bushnell did a great job and credit to them for coming to play right from the get go. They have a tough starting five.”
HOW IT HAPPENED
Things started slow for both teams in the first quarter. Bushnell scored first before a jumper by Maddie Holm put LC State on the board at 9:17. The Beacons pulled ahead 9-5 by 4:14, but a short rally put the Warriors back in front. Ellie Sander hit a 3 to cut the difference to one before adding a layup to give LC a 10-9 advantage at 3:28. Bushnell regrouped to hold a 17-12 lead after 10 minutes.
The Beacons carried the momentum into the second frame to make it a 10-point difference 10 seconds in. Baskets by Darian Herring and Mataya Green kept the score within 10, but another surge had the Beacons ahead 34-20 by 2:10. Free throws by Sander and Wilson made it a 10-point game, 34-24, at the half.
LC State’s offense picked up in the second half and cut the deficit to two points early in the fourth quarter. The Warriors won the third frame 16-12 with six points from Sander and four by Darian Herring. The pair combined for six points as part of a nine-point run late in the period, and a triple by Sander had the Warriors within six, 46-40, heading into the final quarter.
Back-to-back buckets by Callie Stevens and Herring started the fourth frame and made it a two-point contest, 46-44, with 7:25 to play. Bushnell ramped up its game and had the difference back to 10, 56-46, with 2:57 to play. Despite three points each from Stevens and Sander in the final minute, the Beacons held on for the upset.
Sander led the Warrior women with a career-high 21 points on a 4-for-8 night from 3-point range. She went 7-for-7 from the free throw line and tallied eight rebounds, three assists and two blocks.
“We made some good adjustments and executed well the second half,” Orlandi said. “Unfortunately, we did not shoot the ball well tonight and did not defend their top players well. We learned a lot about ourselves, and we have to make quick adjustments and come ready to play against a much-improved Walla Walla team.”
The Warriors close out the calendar year on Wednesday when LC State hosts Walla Walla University at 5 p.m.
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