Lewis-Clark State Rolls to Double Digit Win
By Scott Barker, Communications and Sports Information Intern
INDEPENDENCE, Mo. – (Box Score | Bracket) In the final game of the first day, No. 4-seed Lewis-Clark State (Idaho) defeated two-time defending national champion and No. 5-seed Oklahoma City, 67-52, in the first round of the 2016 NAIA Division I Women’s Basketball National Championship at the Silverstein Eye Centers Arena.
“I thought we came out in the first half and really moved the ball well,” said Lewis-Clark head coach Brian Orr. “One of the things we really talked about is trying to get 20 assists tonight. I also thought that we defended really well tonight. Our posts played great defense, and we did it without fouling. I was excited that we played loose – we did what we do.”
The Warriors (26-6) jumped out to a quick 10-point advantage by scoring 15 of the first 20 points of the game, including three 3-point field goals by Brooke Litalien. The Post Falls, Idaho, native ranks No. 25 in the NAIA in 3-point field goal percentage (38.3 percent).
Mariana Duran drained a 3-point shot for the Stars (20-9) to cut the Warriors lead to seven (17-10) with 2:49 left in the first period, but that was as close as the Stars would get in the quarter. The Warriors held a 20-12 advantage at the end of the first frame.
In the second quarter, Lewis-Clark State was able to extend its lead to 11 (25-14) as Litalien connected on another 3-point jumper with 7:59 left on the clock. The Stars were able to get the lead down to eight at 25-17, but an 8-2 Warriors run pushed the advantage back to double figures, 36-19, with 3:11 left in the first half. Janae Haag converted two free throws to get the Stars to within nine points, but back-to-back baskets by Megan Risinger (3-point field goal) and Laurenna Plourd gave Lewis-Clark State the 14-point (41-27) lead at the break.
In the second half, the Stars were able to cut the lead to ten with 2:23 left in the third quarter at 50-40, but was never able to cut the deficit to double figures. Laialien made another 3-point basket with 7:52 remaining in the game to give the Warriors its biggest lead of the game at 18 (61-43).
The Stars were limited to only 33.9 percent (19-of-56) from the field. This marks the fifth time this season that the Stars were held under 55 points – they are 2-3 in those games. Oklahoma City forced 19 turnovers, but only scored 17 points off those turnovers. Additionally, the Stars held a 13-4 advantage in second-chance points. Daniela Wallen led Oklahoma City with 16 points and 12 rebounds for her 14th double-double of the season. Mariana Duran joined Wallen in double figures with 10 points.
The Warriors were led by Litalien’s 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting from behind the 3-point arc. Hannah Byerly and Brittany Tackett scored 10 points each. Caelyn Orlandi dished out a season-high tying 13 assists in the win. The top-ranked 3-point field goal team shot 42.3 percent (11-of-26) from distance. The Warriors, ranked No. 1 in the NAIA in free throw percentage (76.3), converted on just 57.1 percent from the charity stripe, but only had seven free throw attempts. This was the fourth time in 31 games that they were held to single-digit free throw attempts.
Lewis-Clark State has won six of its last eight games overall and now has a three-game win streak. The Stars have lost two in-a-row for the first time since Feb. 6 and 11.
The Warriors advance to the second round for the tenth time since 2000. Lewis-Clark State now owns an overall Championship record of 19-18. Oklahoma City falls to 66-14 overall at the
Championships and fails to get out of the first round for the first time since 2008.
Lewis-Clark will take on No. 8-seed Cumberland (Tenn.) on Friday at 2:15 p.m. CDT.