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Strong Defense Pushes Lewis-Clark State into Quarterfinals

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March 17, 2017
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BILLINGS, Mont. – (Box Score) No. 1 Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) secured a spot in the quarterfinals with a 69-58 victory over No. 5 Bethel (Tenn.) Friday evening in second round action of the 2017 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship, presented by Wells Fargo. The 37th annual event is taking place at Rimrock Auto Arena at MetraPark.

“I thought our zone tonight was really solid,” said Lewis-Clark State Head Coach Brian Orr. “Offensively, we just stayed consistent. I thought Goose (Caelyn Orlandi) took over the game at a time when we needed her to. Bethel is extremely well coach and hard to guard.”

Frontier Conference Player of the Year Caelyn Orlandi proved once again why she is regarded as one of the best players in the NAIA, as the senior tallied 29 points – one shy of tying a career-high – and five rebounds. The Coeur d’ Alene, Idaho, native shot 10-of-18 from the field, 4-of-7 beyond the arc and 5-for-6 at the free throw line.

Other notable individual performances were by Brittany Tackett – 13 points and four rebounds – and Brooke Litalien – 11 points. Additionally, Megan Risinger registered a career-best 18 boards.

As a team, Lewis-Clark State shot 40.3 percent (25-of-62) from the field and 83.3 percent at the charity line.

However, it was the Warrior’s defense that proved the difference in the contest. Lewis-Clark State held Bethel to a 22-for-66 night from the floor, including only a 6-for-32 effort from beyond the arc.

Lewis-Clark State stormed through the first quarter, outscoring the Wildcats, 15-4. It was the Warrior defense that fueled the run, holding Bethel to only two field goals while scoring 10 points off of turnovers.

Four points is the lowest single period point total for Bethel this season.

From the start of the second quarter until the final buzzer the game was literally identical from a scoring perspective, as both squads posted 14 points in the second quarter, 19 points in the third quarter, and 21 points in the fourth quarter.

Three Wildcats finished the night in double figures – Brandi Goodman (15 points), Shamon Pearson (13 points) and Alexis Hardaway (12 points).

With the loss, Bethel fails to reach the quarterfinals for the second-straight season after making consecutive appearances in the round of eight in 2014 and 2015. The Wildcats close the year with a 24-11 record.

Lewis-Clark State plays No. 2 Westmont (Calif.) tomorrow at 6 p.m. MDT with a chance at the semifinals on the line.

Championship Information

NAIA DI Women's Basketball Championship