LEWISTON - A career-high 35 points from Lewis-Clark State senior Jamie Nielson was not enough to push 21st ranked Warriors (16-7, 8-5) past the visiting Providence Argonauts (15-10, 6-7) on Thursday night. The Warriors erased an early 10-point deficit in the second quarter, but ultimately fell to UP 73-65 in the LCSC Activity Center.
“They’re as good as any team we’re going to see all year,” coach Brian Orr said. “Honestly, they have all the ingredients. It’s always disappointing when a player like Jamie Nielson has such a big game, a game for the record books, but we couldn’t celebrate in the locker room because we came out on the losing end. I’m really proud of her performance tonight. She really stepped up in a big way.”
A 16-2 run to close out the first half brought the Warriors back into the game after falling behind 27-17 early. Nielson led the charge with 16 points in the half on seven field goals (two 3-pointers). She also dished four assists in the opening 20 minutes.
At 7:23 in the second quarter the deficit for the Warriors grew to 10 at 27-17, but a bucket by Nielson sparked a 16-2 run that got her team back in the game. Back-to-back 3s from Abbie Johnson and Nielson to close the half put LC in front 33-29 at the break.
In the second half, Providence hit its stride at around 3:27 in the fourth quarter. An eight-point run erased a three point Warrior lead and gave UP a five-point advantage (66-61) with two minutes to play, and the Argos ultimately widened the gap to eight (73-65) to end it.
Nielson scored the 11th-highest point total in LCSC women’s basketball history, and the most by a Warrior woman this season, with her career-high 35. She was 16-for-20 from the field, including 3 of 5 from 3 and scored more than half of the team’s total points on the night. She also dished out five assists, three steals and two blocks.
Kiara Burlage totaled 11 points and two steals, while Johnson tallied nine points and nine rebounds. Abby Farmer also dished out a team-high six assists.
Bailey Cartwright led the Argos with 21 points, while Parker Esary tallied 20 points to go with 16 rebounds.
UP outrebounded LCSC 41-29 and went 15-for-17 from the free throw line.
“It came down to a couple things,” Orr explained. “When we were shooting free throws with about seven minutes to go, I thought we were in pretty good shape. Then we couldn’t get to the foul line, and they did. It was one of the few times someone made more free throws than we attempted, and they dominated the offensive boards. They just made more plays down the stretch and were the stronger team.”
Lewis-Clark State now turns their attention to Saturday's matchup with MSU-Northern at 2 P.M. in the Activity Center.