Pirates Push Warriors Before Falling 79-72

Lexi Belcher led Whitworth with 20 points, tying a season high.
Lexi Belcher led Whitworth with 20 points, tying a season high.

SPOKANE, Wash. – Jasmine Stohr scored 22 points while Kirsi Voshell added 17 points and 10 rebounds to keep visiting Lewis-Clark State just out of reach of upset-minded Whitworth in a non-conference women's basketball game on Saturday afternoon at the Whitworth Fieldhouse.

The Warriors, ranked 4th in the latest NAIA Div. I poll, improved to 10-1 this season.  The Pirates fell to 4-7.

Despite a significant height disadvantage at nearly every position, Whitworth came out firing in the opening minutes. The Bucs took an 11-7 lead on back to back three pointers by Emily Guthrie and forcing an early timeout by LCSC.  But the Warriors regrouped to go on a 14-5 run, opening up a 21-16 lead on a three-pointer by Kelly Rice.  Lexi Belcher answered by converting a three-point play for the Pirates.  When Brittaney Niebergall drained a three-pointer for a 29-21 Warrior advantage with six minutes to go in the half, the Pirates once again denied the Warriors a chance to break away.  Lauren Picha answered with a three of her own and Whitworth fought back to tie  the game 36-36 on a put-back basket by Jamie Lyons.  Voshell scored the final basket of the half to give LCSC a two-point margin at the break.

When Lauren Picha cut inside for an easy basket early in the second half the Pirates had tied the game 44-44.  A minute later Picha drained a three-pointer to pull Whitworth within 48-47.  But then LCSC when on an 8-0 run, including two baskets by Voshell, to take a 56-47 lead with 12 minutes left.  Whitworth would not get closer than six points the rest of the way.  The Bucs got within 66-60 on another three-ball by Guthrie, but the Warriors answered by extending the lead to 75-63 on a pair of free throws by Tasha Bishop with under two minutes to play.

LCSC made 54% (28-52) of its shots from the field, 41% (7-17) from three-point range.  The Warriors got to the free throw line 17 times and made 16 (94%).  Stohr made 9 of her 13 shots and all three free throws to lead all scorers.  Voshell was 8-9 from the field.  Bishop was the third Warrior in double figures with 14 points.

Whitworth was able to stay in the game despite shooting 34% (27-79) from the field by forcing 20 LCSC turnovers.  Lexi Belcher led Whitworth with 20 points, while Guthrie scored 15 on five three-pointers and added six assists.  Picha finished with 11 points and Kayla Johnson led Whitworth with 10 rebounds to tie for game-high honores.

Coming Up: Whitworth is off for the holiday break.  The Pirates will host their alumni in an exhibition game on December 30th at 6:00 p.m.  Whitworth's next official game will be January 6th at Pacific Lutheran as the Bucs return to Northwest Conference play.

Notes: The seven-point margin of defeat is the closest Whitworth has come against Lewis-Clark State since the 1993-94 season when the Warriors defeated the Pirates 65-62.  Belcher tied her season high of 20 points, originally set in the season opener against Eastern Oregon.