William Penn, making their first ever championship appearance, gave LCSC – the tourney’s second overall seed – all they could handle in the first quarter. The two teams battled to a 14-14 tie after one quarter.
“It was their defense,” said Lewis-Clark State Head Coach Brian Orr. “We didn’t expect the extended 1-3-1 zone, but more than anything else the way they attacked the offensive glass in the first half.”
The Statesman took their first lead in the game one minute into the second half when JeAnn Hiraldo hit a 3-pointer. Lewis-Clark State responded with a Brittany Tackett basket. The two teams then traded scores and the lead until the four minute market of the second quarter when the Warriors Lauren Johnson scored a basket and started a 13-4 run and gave LCSC a lead that would not lose.
Neither team could mount much offense in the second half, as Lewis-Clark State outscored the Statesman 21-16.
Only Vashti Nwagbarocha scored in double figures for the Statesman with 10 points. William Penn trailed by 10-or-more points for all but 63 seconds of the second half. The Statesman pulled to within nine with four minutes left in game, but that lasted only 13 seconds.
“We’re just happy to win and move on,” said Orr.
Lauren Johnson led three Warriors scoring in double figures with 14. Cailyn Orlandi scored 12 points, her 25th game this season scoring 10-or-more points.
Lewis-Clark State, now 32-1 overall, has not lost to a non-Frontier Conference team this season. The Warriors now face No. 5 Bethel (Tenn.) in the second round Friday at 6:15 p.m. MDT.
William Penn ends its season at 18-14.