By Ryan Divish
The Montana State University-Northern men's and women's basketball suffered a pair of tough losses to the Lewis-Clark State Warriors Thursday night in Lewiston, Idaho.
The Skylights, searching for at least a split on the final weekend of regular season Frontier Conference action, will have to look for a win against Westminster College on Saturday after falling 90-73 to the Warriors.
After trailing by as much as 20 points in the first half, Northern rallied behind Khadiga Mohamed and Nichole Neill to cut the lead to eight at 46-38 with three minutes remaining in the first half. LCSC added a pair of baskets inside to hold a 50-40 lead at halftime.
But the halftime deficit was too much for the Skylights to overcome. Northern cut the lead to nine on a Kristie Pullin three-pointer early in the second half. But they would get no closer. LCSC got a pair of three-pointers from Alicia Hazlett and another from Elpidia Valle to slowly pull away late in the second half.
LCSC sank 11 three-pointers and forced Northern into 28 turnovers. The Warriors had six players score in double figures led by Jessica Foote's 17 points. Kyla Harris scored 14 points and Hazlett added 12. Cami Kalbfleisch, Shanta Coleman and Kendra West all scored 10 points apiece
Neill led Northern with a game-high 24 points including six three-pointers. The Skylights also got solid performances off the bench from Kristal Lohse and Lindsey Buehler, who scored 13 points apiece and combined for 12 rebounds.
The Skylights still have a chance to finish third in the Frontier Conference, but they must win Saturday night's game against Westminster in Salt Lake City.
In the men's game, the Lights dug themselves a hole they couldn't crawl out of thanks to some cold shooting and a strong LCSC inside game to fall, 91-75.
Northern shot a frigid 27 percent from the field and 15 percent from three-point range in the first half to fall behind early. Playing without forward Charlie Ereaux, LCSC dominated the inside offensively and controlled the boards to jump to a 43-27 halftime lead.
The Lights led 4-3 on a score from Douglas inside. The Warriors answered with a 16-4 run with most of the points coming from inside the paint. Northern fought to trail by eight on three-pointers from Landen Grant and Zach McLean. But LCSC answered with a three-pointer from Chris Allen and scores inside from Jason Brazier and Adam Trombley to grab a 43-27 first half lead.
Besides missing Ereaux's 14 points per game and solid inside play, the Frontier Conference's leading scorer Larry Morinia was held scoreless in the first half.
A Brian McGowan score inside cut the LCSC lead to nine points midway through the second half. However, a three-point play from Brazier and six consecutive points from former Light Dustin Endsley, including a monster dunk, pushed the lead back to 69-54 and ended the Lights chances.
LCSC steadily pulled away by pounding the ball inside to Trombley, who scored a season-high 18 points and added a game-high 11 rebounds.
In all, the Warriors had five players in double figures led by Jason Brazier's game-high 25 points. Brian Meneely and Ricky Frazier scored 13 and 12 points respectively while Endsley finished with 11 points and 11 rebounds.
Northern was led by Lamar Morinia with 20 points. Reid Stovall, who was starting in place of Ereaux, had a solid night with 12 points. Larry Morinia finished with 10 points on 3-16 shooting including 0-8 from three-point range.
The Lights will play conference leading Westminster College on Saturday night.