LMU moves into tournament final with 69-55 win over Idaho State
Nov. 28, 2008
Los Angeles, CA - Sophomore Renahy Young had 20 points to lead three players in double figures as LMU grinded out a tough 69-55 win over Idaho State in the first game of the LMU Ayres Thanksgiving Tournament on Friday at Gersten Pavilion. It was not the prettiest of wins, but the Lions (4-1) did what they needed to advance to the championship game on Saturday while sending the Bengals (2-4) into the consolation game.
Young reached 20 points for the second time this season despite going only three-for-nine from the floor. As she did two weeks ago against Toledo, she found a way to score by going to the basket drawing fouls and hitting her free throws. She went 14-for-16 from the line in the game. The 14 free throws made tie for the second-most in a single game at LMU and are one of her career-high and school-record set against Toledo on November 16.
Young's backcourt mates, senior Cassady Moore and junior Lisa Helmers, stepped up as well; Helmers on the offensive end with 18 points and Moore on the defensive end with five steals. Moore and the rest of the Lions forced 23 turnovers from the Bengals and only committed 11 of their own. The Bengals were led, as they have been all season, by Oana Iacovita as she finished with a double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds.
Both teams started off sluggish in the first half as neither team was shooting above 20 percent midway through the half with the score tied 8-8. Each team slowly got jumpstarted and, as is typical for the Lions, it started with their defense. They had 10 steals in the first half with eight coming in the last seven minutes.
As their defense got revved up, so did their offense. LMU scored 11 points over the final three minutes of the half, including twice scoring directly off steals. The Lions finished with 19 points off turnovers in the game, to only five for Idaho State. The senior Moore was responsible for three steals in the half, while sophomore Aleyse Evans and freshman Alex Cowling led the way on offense with six points apiece as LMU led 27-22 at half.
The Bengals stayed in the game by rebounding strong, outrebounding the Lions by eight in the half. Verity Peets was the game's leading scorer in the first half with eight points.
The Bengals started off well in the second half, quickly drawing even and then taking the lead at 30-28 less than three minutes into the period. That was one of 13 times the lead changed hands throughout the game.
The game stayed tight for the next six minutes before the Lions took control. Trailing 36-35, they went on a 12-2 run, a run keyed by Helmers. Cowling hit a jumper to give the Lions the lead and Helmers scored the next eight points for LMU, the last three on a three-pointer from several feet behind the line. Young finished off the run to put the Lions up 48-38.
The Bengals never got closer than four points after that and LMU sealed the game at the free throw line. Most of those free throws came from Young, who hit ten free throws in the half.
"I think it's a sign that we are a good team that we were able to come out of the game within a win despite not playing well," Head Coach Julie Wilhoit said. "What saved us was being able to get to the line and knock down our free throws and Lisa [Helmers] hitting those three-pointers."
The win puts the Lions in the championship game for the ninth time in the 12-year history of the tournament. LMU will look to defend its title and claim its fifth tomorrow against the Georgetown, who defeated North Dakota State 60-41 in Friday's other semifinal. Tip-off for the championship game will be at approximately 3 p.m., following the consolation game between Idaho State and North Dakota State at 1 p.m.
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