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CASCADE CONFERENCE TOURNAMENT: Lewis-Clark State Warriors bounce back against College of Idaho

Feb. 28—It took the better part of three-and-a-half quarters, but the Warriors reminded the Coyotes, and everyone in attendance Tuesday at the P1FCU Activity Center, who they are.

The No. 6 Lewis-Clark State women's basketball team downed College of Idaho 78-57 in Lewiston in a Cascade Conference quarterifinal game. The win was spurred by a 26-3 run in the final quarter that started with the Warriors down by two.

"Lately we haven't been playing like the team we know we are," Lewis-Clark State senior Callie Stevens said. "So, I think that fourth quarter opened it up for us and let us know 'oh, we're back.' Our defense, we got those steals and tips — our coach loves to say 'defense leads to offense' and obviously that's what happened."

The game was competitive until the Warriors' run. Here's how the rest of it played out:

Coyotes show some bite

College of Idaho (10-19) put out a much more competitive showing than it had in two previous meetings against LCSC (24-4). In prior games this season, the Coyotes fell to the Warriors by 19 points each.

College of Idaho's NAIA tournament hopes solely relied on winning the Cascade Conference postseason tournament, and it played like it.

Through three quarters, the Coyotes were able to hang with LCSC and managed to take a couple of leads off the back of its 3-point shooting. COI finished 9-for-33 from long range and was 4-for-14 at halftime.

The Coyotes managed to turn their offensive output into an 18-18 tie after one, and a two-point lead at halftime.

COI led by as many as seven points in the third quarter, much to the excitement of a couple dozen Coyotes fans in attendance who made the almost-five hour drive to Lewiston.

Going into the fourth quarter, the Warriors, who had been denied fast-break opportunities and found themselves at a disadvantage in fouls called at a couple of different points, started to play to their standard.

Warriors make their stand

Down 54-52 with just under eight minutes left in the game, LCSC went on a 9-0 run to go up by seven.

That run eventually ballooned to the 26-3 spurt that secured the 21-point win and effectively ended COI's season.

The Warriors were more aggressive going for turnovers in the final eight minutes . Junior guard Ellie Sander, sophomore forward Sitara Byrd and sophomore post Lindsey Wilson all made critical blocks or steals to help fuel LCSC's fast-break offense that led to the run.

Sander was the main beneficiary of Warriors' rejuvenated fast break and scored 11 of her 19 points in the final three-and-a-half minutes of the game. Stevens helped facilitate that run and she finished with six assists to go with four steals and a team-high 22 points.

In the case of Sander, that run helped break her out of her self-admitted shooting slump — a good sign for the junior sharpshooter ahead of Sunday's conference semifinal.

"I've been going through a little shooting slump," Sander said. "So hitting that first 3 and hitting two more after that, it was just an amazing feeling. And it felt like I'm back. I heard Callie's mom in the stands shouting 'Ellie, you're back.' "

Revenge tour begins

LCSC was knocked down to the No. 3 seed in the postseason conference tournament after a pair of losses last weekend against the No. 25 Oregon Tech Owls and No. 22 Southern Oregon Raiders.

The Warriors will have a chance to get some semblance of payback against the Owls in the Cascade Conference semifinal. Lewis-Clark State will play Oregon Tech at a to-be-determined time Friday in Klamath Falls, Ore.

"Oregon Tech has fantastic scorers," Warriors coach Caelyn Orlandi said. "That's Oregon Tech's strength. They got scorers at every spot on the floor. So, if we're not defending at a high level ... they're going to find gaps in our defense and exploit those things. But I know we're going to come ready to compete next time. (The players) are already talking about it. They're ready to go. They're all excited."

COLLEGE OF IDAHO (10-19)

Reed 1-3 0-2 2, Waltermeyer 5-11 0-0 14, Graham 2-4 2-2 6, Austin 2-11 0-0 5, Beresford 5-12 0-1 12, Keener 1-2 0-0 3, Anderson 3-3 0-0 6, Mooney 2-10 0-0 5, Brandner 0-1 0-0 0, Hirsch 2-3 0-0 4. Totals 23-60 2-5 57.

LEWIS-CLARKS TATE (24-4)

Wilson 4-7 1-3 9, Sander 8-14 0-0 19, Stevens 9-15 1-2 22, Green 3-6 0-1 6, Barger 1-2 0-0 3, Nelson 2-3 0-0 4, Brager 1-6 0-0 3, Beardin 0-1 0-0 0, Herring 5-8 0-0 10. Totals 34-66 2-6 78.

College of Idaho 18 14 17 8—57

Lewis-Clark State 18 12 19 29—78

3-point goals — College of Idaho 9-33 (Waltermeyer 4-10, Beresford 2-4, Austin 1-8, Mooney 1-5, Keener 1-2, Reed 0-1, Graham 0-1, Brandner 0-1, Hirsch 0-1); Lewis-Clark State 8-26 (Stevens 3-9, Sander 3-8, Brager 1-4, Barger 1-1, Byrd 0-2, Nelson 0-1, Beardin 0-1). Rebounds — College of Idaho 40 (Beresford 7); Lewis-Clark State 33 (Sander, Stevens 7). Assists — College of Idaho 15 (Mooney 6); Lewis-Clark State 19 (Stevens 6). Total fouls — College of Idaho 10; Lewis-Clark State 12. Technical fouls — none. Fouled out — none. Attendance — 504.

Kowatsch can be contacted at 208-848-2268, tkowatsch@lmtribune.com or on Twitter @Teren_Kowatsch.