CALDWELL, ID - In one of the strongest performances by the Warrior women this season, the 24th ranked Lewis-Clark State Women’s Basketball team upended College of Idaho 97-66 on Sunday to earn the first Cascade Conference Tournament Championship title in program history. The Warriors, in their first season in the CCC, battled through an unusual schedule during an unusual year to earn the automatic bid to the national tournament.
“This was a really fun game,” Head Coach Brian Orr said. “We had a few break downs on the defensive end and C of I did a great job crashing the offensive boards and then kicked it out for open 3s.”
Kiara Burlage and Abbie Johnson led the Warriors with 15 and 14 points, respectively, and were two of five LC players in double-digits.
“I was really happy with our offensive execution the whole game,” Orr said. “We attacked the basket, found open teammates and made good decisions. We got great contributions off the bench. It was definitely a team win, and a team championship.”
The Yotes struck first with a 3 to take an early lead, and Abbie Johnson answered with a layup to put the Warriors on the board. Peyton Souvenir drained a jumper to keep LC within one two minutes in, but C of I charged on to gain a 10-4 advantage. Abby Farmer converted a steal into a layup, and a steal by Souvenir turned into a basket by Johnson. The 4-0 run cut the deficit to 10-8 with 5:17 left in the first quarter.
LC State tied things up with a jumper by Johnson, and a layup by Farmer and 3-pointer by Burlage made it an 11-point run to put the Warriors up 15-10. Another basket by Johnson gave LC a 19-16 lead at the end of the first. The senior tallied eight points in the first 10 minutes.
She continued to lead LC with a jumper in the opening seconds of the second. The Warriors rattled off 11 straight with points from Sara Muehlhausen, Maddie Holm and Buralge and Jansen Edmiston to make it 32-19 with 4:34 left in the half.
Hannah Broyles drained a 3-pointer at 2:26 started a seven-point rally to grow the lead to 41-25, and Farmer drained a pair of free throws in the final seconds to send LC into the locker room with a 43-28 lead.
The Yotes came out firing with a triple to begin the second half, but a jumper and 3 for Farmer got the ball rolling for LC State. Johnson, Farmer and Souvenir each found the basket to make it a 19-point contest as the Warriors outscored C of I 11-5 through the first four minutes.
LC State maintained nearly a 20-point lead throughout the rest of the quarter. Heidi Sellmann hit a 3-pointer to give the Warriors a 63-42 advantage, then made good on a pair of foul shots with 1:19 to play in the third.
The Warriors took a 65-47 lead into the final quarter. Sellmann and Johnson combined for four points and a 3 by Souvenir grew the advantage to 72-51 two minutes in. Seven straight points by Broyles capped a 16-0 run for an 85-51 lead at 4:38. The Warriors held C of I off the board for over four minutes during the run.
A jumper by Holm gave LC its largest lead of the game (36 points) to make it a 90-54 game in the final minutes and the Warriors closed out the game for a 97-66 victory.
Burlage led the Warrior women with 15 points in the game, and Johnson was just behind her with 14. Both grabbed nine boards. Johnson was perfect from the field (6-for-6) and from the free throw line (2-for-2). Souvenir and Farmer each posted 13 points, and Broyles rounded out the double-digit scoring with a career-high 10 points. Souvenir dished out six assists and had three steals.
As a team, LC State shot 54 percent from the field and 44.4 percent from 3-point range. The Warriors were 21-for-22 (95.5 percent) from the free throw line and blocked eight shots. The 97 points are the highest for the Warrior women this season.
LC State now awaits the announcement of locations and brackets for the NAIA Opening Round. Opening Rounds will be played on March 12 and 13 before heading to Sioux City, Iowa.