BILLINGS – It was never close.
Livingston native Brian Orr has Lewis-Clark State in the NAIA Women’s Basketball Championship game for the first time in his tenured coaching career.
LC State led by as many as 18 in the first half on the way to a 65-41 blowout win over Vanguard, Cali., in Monday’s semifinal.
Caelyn Orlandi dished out 12 assists and four more Warriors scored in double-figures to lead a balanced semifinal attack at Rimrock Auto Arena.
“I love passing the ball,” said Orlandi. “I mean, I love that role I play on this team, and with my teammates knocking them down like that, it makes me happy to see them so excited. My job as a point guard is to give up my good shot to get my players a better shot.”
Orlandi has certainly made tournament life easier for Warriors coach Brian Orr this week.
“It was so fun to watch her play, wasn’t it,” he agreed after Monday’s win. “You know, she’s coming down the floor, she’s looking one way, she finds somebody wide open on the other side. You know, I wished I was the recipient of those passes sometimes because she they were wide open shots, and our girls were able to knock them down.”
LC State led 34-20 at halftime. Jossilyn Blackman put together a double-double with 13 rebounds and 12 points.
This year marks the 14th season Orr has guided LC State to the national tournament. Monday’s game marked his first Fab Four appearance.
The Warriors will face NAIA power Oklahoma City University in Tuesday night’s title game. The Stars already own eight national championships, and arrived after holding off Campbellsville, Kent., 87-78 in the first semifinal. Daniela Wallen (30) and Daniela Galindo (33) combined for 63 of OKC’s 87 points.
OKC and Lewis-Clark State met in last year’s NAIA tournament, with LCS eliminating the Stars in a first-round match-up.
Tuesday’s championship tips off at 7:05 p.m. on ESPN3.